Pioneering the Vote by Neylan McBaine

Pioneering the Vote by Neylan McBaine

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Book Review of Pioneering the Vote by Neylan McBaine

I dedicate this book review to Mrs. Christie Pitts. In high school I took Mrs. Pitts’ AP American History class. I passed, thank goodness! Mrs. Pitts was an amazing teacher! My senior year, Mrs. Pitts started a new class: Women in History. I was a member of the inaugural class. Yes, it was all girls, and we LOVED it! This class focused on prominent women from American history, along with many women we had not ever heard of. It was so fun to look at history through some different viewpoints and to get to know some amazing women from our history. Mrs. Pitts inspired me to do and be better. She told us stories from her life that showed how far women had come in just her lifetime. I loved that class! It did cause some controversy, though! One day someone put a sign on her door that said, “Feminism 101.” We laughed about it and left it up as a badge of honor for a long time. It wasn’t quite true, but…what do you do?? Anyway, Mrs. Pitts would have loved this book! Here’s my review of Pioneering the Vote by Neylan McBaine.

Blurb:

“In 1895, Utah’s leading suffragist, Emmeline B. Wells, welcomed her friends Susan B. Anthony and Reverend Anna Howard Shaw to a gathering of more than 8,000 people from around the West at the Rocky Mountain Suffrage Convention. They were there to celebrate the suffrage movement’s recent wins and strategize their next triumphs. Pioneering the Vote tells the remarkable, largely unknown story of the early suffrage victories that happened in states and territories in the American West. With the encouragement of the eastern leaders, women from Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, and Idaho came together in a unique moment of friendship and unified purpose to secure the vote for women in America.

Told in alternating fiction and non-fiction narratives, this book offers a rare look at the suffrage movement from the point of view of the women in the western United States. With 2020 marking the centennial of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, join with these remarkable figures from the past to celebrate women’s right to vote.”

My Book Review:

I know I’m a day off (oops!) the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but life happened yesterday and I didn’t get my review posted. Yes! The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by the people of Tennessee on August 18, 1920. Tennessee was the 36th, and final, state to ratify the amendment. The 19th Amendment gave women in the United States the right to vote.

Unfortunately, women of color in the United States still had many barriers to their enfranchisement. It wouldn’t be until many years later that women of color, Native American women, or women of Asian descent were able to vote. Even though many had been given the right to vote many years previous, there were places around the country that placed barriers in the way of their voting.

I’ve lived in Utah my whole life. I’ve lived in several different places around Utah, but always in Utah. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I know the history of the Church. I thought I knew my state history quite well; I didn’t know this history. How had I never heard of these women? Utah tried many times to gain statehood and was unfortunately turned down because of polygamy. (FYI: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has not practiced polygamy in a VERY long time. The practice was discontinued in 1890.) In an effort to overcome that, Utah enfranchised its women. On February 12, 1870. Yes! Utah women voted for 17 years! Then, in 1887 they were disenfranchised.

I could go on and on! This book details the Rocky Mountain Suffrage Conference that was held in Salt Lake City, UT in 1895. Susan B. Anthony and the Reverend Anna Shaw attended, along with other prominent women suffragist activists of the day. The main point of the conference was to celebrate the vote to keep women’s enfranchisement in the Utah constitution, and to decide how to move forward to help other states around the nation achieve the same thing.

This book is very well researched and well written. There is some fiction in dialogues and such, but Ms. McBaine used diaries and newspaper articles to try and make it as accurate as possible. Many of the speeches that appear in the book were taken verbatim, as they were given at the conference. I didn’t know Susan B. Anthony came to Utah, or that she was good friends with Emmeline B. Wells. I didn’t even realize that Utah was the first, then really the third state to allow women the vote in their constitutions.

I learned so much reading this book, and I loved it! It focuses a lot on Utah, but also discusses the history of Wyoming and Colorado (the first and second states to allow women to vote and to guarantee it in their constitutions). The book goes on to talk about Idaho and California, and some of their struggles with women’s enfranchisement as well.

I know things are not perfect in our country; I know there are always things we can do to improve and make things better for each of our citizens. However, I am so thankful for this country. I’m thankful for the freedoms we enjoy, and I’m grateful for all those who have come before and worked tirelessly to make things better for me today. What an honor and privilege it is to be able to study the candidates in this upcoming election, and to be able to vote for the person I think will do the best job of running our country. What am I going to do to honor the women who have come before? What am I going to do to recognize and celebrate this 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment? I am going to VOTE in November, and I challenge you to do the same. Don’t get caught up in the emotions and the rhetoric. Study the candidates. Read their platforms, look at their histories, and choose the person that best fits what you want in a leader. Do not take this privilege for granted.

I highly recommend Pioneering the Vote by Neylan McBaine, especially as we celebrate the momentous occasion of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There’s no profanity, violence, or “intimacy” in this book.)

Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/3aEzVjY

 

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Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

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Book Review of Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

As a mother and a teacher I have seen many children who seem very dependent on technology. It’s interesting because when I get them in school they don’t know how to format a spreadsheet or put together a Google Slide presentation, but they can find memes and gifs and games no problem. I have witnessed with my own self and my children how reliant we can be on technology to cope with boredom and to numb out the feelings. When I heard about this book I knew I had to read it. The information in this book shocked and terrified me. It’s so important. What book am I discussing today? Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras, Ph.D.

Blurb:

“We’ve all seen them: kids hypnotically staring at glowing screens in restaurants, in playgrounds and in friends’ houses―and the numbers are growing. Like a virtual scourge, the illuminated glowing faces―the Glow Kids―are multiplying. But at what cost? Is this just a harmless indulgence or fad like some sort of digital hula-hoop? Some say that glowing screens might even be good for kids―a form of interactive educational tool.

Don’t believe it.

In Glow Kids, Dr. Nicholas Kardaras will examine how technology―more specifically, age-inappropriate screen tech, with all of its glowing ubiquity―has profoundly affected the brains of an entire generation. Brain imaging research is showing that stimulating glowing screens are as dopaminergic (dopamine activating) to the brain’s pleasure center as sex. And a growing mountain of clinical research correlates screen tech with disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and even psychosis. Most shocking of all, recent brain imaging studies conclusively show that excessive screen exposure can neurologically damage a young person’s developing brain in the same way that cocaine addiction can.

Kardaras will dive into the sociological, psychological, cultural, and economic factors involved in the global tech epidemic with one major goal: to explore the effect all of our wonderful shiny new technology is having on kids. Glow Kids also includes an opt-out letter and a “quiz” for parents in the back of the book.”

My Book Review:

To say that this book shocked me is definitely an understatement. I first heard about it from a man named Collin Kartchner. He came and spoke to my school district about the harmful effects of cell phones and social media to children. I now follow him on Facebook and Instagram, and he recommended this book. He said after he read the first chapter he and his family got rid of the smart phones. After hearing that, I knew I needed to read it.

My husband and I have always been quite strict with our kids and technology. We did get our older boys smart phones the summer before they entered high school. My two girls (9th and 7th) do not have smart phones. I collect the phones each night, and they are locked with an app blocker, so nothing can be accessed on the phone. They never have access to the internet on their phones. None of them have social media, and I also turn off the wi-fi at night. They may not have Snap Chat or Tik Tok. You see, we were quite strict to begin with. Then I read this book.

Oh boy! Wow. To say that I was shocked when I read this book would be an understatement. I knew screen addiction could be bad, but I had no idea how bad it could really be. Dr. Kardaras cites study after study that backs up his claims. Video game creators write addiction codes into their games so children become addicted, and the dopamine the children receive while playing these games mimics the dopamine rush from a drug addiction. Yeah, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

This book is well written. It reads well, and isn’t too full of jargon or scientific language. Its message comes across loud and clear. There are some reviews that suggest Dr. Kardaras is fearmongering, and I disagree. Yes, some of the examples he uses are extreme, but to me it shows how bad the addiction can get if left untreated. Dr. Kardaras cites studies to back up his research, and also gives anecdotes to give the reader a clear picture of what glow kids are. I always take things with a grain of salt anyway; each person is different and will react to situations and stimuli differently.

After I read this book I added even more time restrictions to my children, and I am more strict about no phones during dinner, family time, parties, etc. At school I changed a lot of things. Prior to reading this book I had my students practice their multiplication facts on a computer program because I thought it would be more fun. After reading this book I went old school and made flashcards (my daughter and I cut out flashcards for hours). My students now practice multiplication with a partner using flashcards. I also stopped using the Chromebooks for frivolous activities. As a teacher I understand that I still need to teach the students to use computers (spreadsheets, word docs, presentations, etc), but I no longer use them for things that can be done without tech.

Well, I did. Then the COVID-19 pandemic ruined all my plans about three weeks after I changed everything up. And we went to using nothing but technology. Ugh. Well, I tried. Going forward, I have no idea what will happen, but I plan to limit tech as much as possible.

If you have children or work with children in any way, you need to read this book. I see toddlers staring at phones now in grocery stores and I want to scream, “NOOOOO!!!” I don’t of course, but I want to. I like that this book has solutions in it, and they are practicable and doable. Here is an example:

A refocusing in education, at home and school, on the essentials of a healthy childhood: strong bonds with caring adults; time for spontaneous, creative lay; a curriculum rich in music and the other arts; reading books aloud; storytelling and poetry; rhythm and movement; cooking, building things, and other handcrafts; and gardening and other hands-on experiences of nature and the physical world. (pg 244)

Here are some of the quotes that stood out the most to me:

What’s more, an ever-increasing amount of clinical research correlates screen tech with psychiatric disorders like ADHD, addiction, anxiety, depression, increased aggression and even psychosis. (pgs 3-4)

…video games for the alienated kid and social media for the cheerleader are both just as addicting as heroin is to a junkie. With every burst of virtual gunfire, every text and tweet, there is a release—a little squirt—of dopamine, just as surely as cocaine tickles our dopamine neurotransmitters. (pg 14)

Dr. Dunckley came to believe that the unnaturally stimulating nature of an electronic screen, regardless of its content, wreaks havoc on the still-developing nervous system and mental health of a child on a variety of levels—cognitive, behavioral and emotional. (pgs 115-116)

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (This book does not have any profanity, but it does discuss some violent/graphic situations, and does talk about “intimacy.”)

Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2O5sRCn

 

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Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

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Book Review of Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman

I have witnessed (on tv) many man-made disasters in my lifetime. One of the first to come to my mind is the explosion of the space shuttle when I was in third grade. I watched it live with the rest of the third grade, and it was traumatic, to say the least. I can also remember hearing about or watching trains derail, airplanes crash, decks collapse, and dams fail. It’s scary every time something like this happens. Lessons are learned, amazing people are there to help, and situations become safer because of these disasters. That is what Catastrophes and Heroes by Jerry Borrowman is about. Borrowman takes the reader through eight man-made disasters, the decisions that led up to them, the heroes that helped, and the lessons that were learned.

Blurb:

 
“A century of the industrial age saw unprecedented leaps in technology and engineering, from the first flight of an airplane to the first flight of humans to the moon. But alongside these awe-inspiring achievements were horrible disasters caused by faulty engineering or careless judgment. Catastrophes and Heroes explores eight such disasters and recognizes the unheralded heroes who stepped up to save others in times of great danger–and the policies that changed as a result.
  • Eight disaster stories spanning the globe and listed in chronological order from 1865 to 1963.
  • Each chapter contains such sections as: The Human Cost of Tragedy, Overview, Fateful Choices, Victims and First Responder Heroes, and Professional Heroes.”

My Book Review:

This well written book goes into great detail about each of these eight disasters. There are train derailments, dam failures, bridge collapses, boat fires, and more. It’s obvious that Borrowman has put a lot of time and effort into his research for this book. For each of the disasters he discusses the people involved, the safety standards of the time, the engineering knowledge of the time, and many of the decisions made leading up to the disaster. He then walks the reader through the disaster, the aftermath, the heroes that helped, and the safety standards that changed as a result.

I had never heard of any of these disasters. I’m even a history lover, and I did not know about any of these situations. As I read, I did find it interesting to learn about what happened in each of these experiences. I especially liked reading about the people who jumped right in to help the victims in their time of need. Another point of interest was learning about the safety changes that occurred because of these catastrophes. Often times we don’t know what needs fixing until it’s too late. Unfortunately, many people lost their lives in these tragedies, but fortunately, changes were made that made all of us safer today.

I liked this book, but it was a bit too depressing for me. Borrowman definitely focused more on the catastrophe part than the hero part, and reading somber story after somber story was a bit much for me. I could only read it a little bit at a time. That being said, I did like learning about the history of it and learning about the heroes who helped in the aftermath. I’m glad that we have record of these disasters so that we do not repeat the mistakes going forward.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There is minimal profanity; just a couple of words. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is quite a bit of violence as many people were killed or injured in these disasters.)

Recommendation: 16+ (I don’t think children younger would be interested in this topic anyway.)

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2AuTYnu

 

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The Milkman’s Son by Randy Lindsay

The Milkman's Son by Randy Lindsay

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Book Review of The Milkman's Son by Randy Lindsay

Have you ever felt like you’re the odd-one-out in your family; or been teased that you’re the milkman’s child? Or, have you ever tried your hand at family history work? Randy Lindsay did both, and it didn’t turn out quite like he expected. DNA testing has been able to do amazing things with family history, including finding links to people you never knew you were related to. It’s been so helpful, in fact, that it has been known to find a few surprises in families around the world. Randy Lindsay’s family tree had a big surprise waiting for him! Find out more in my review of The Milkman’s Son by Randy Lindsay.

Blurb:

“Raised in a family he bore little resemblance to, Randy was jokingly referred to as ‘the milkman’s son.’  This warm and candid memoir chronicles the unraveling of a family secret, which begins with Randy’s dad having dreams about deceased relatives urging him to complete their family tree. Randy agrees to help with the genealogy, but after his searching leads to a dead end, he takes a commercially available DNA test. The results reveal a possible genetic match to a sister, which begins a familial quest that forever changes the author’s life.

Featuring a cast of vivid characters, richly drawn from two distinct families, The Milkman’s Son reveals one man’s family tree, pulling back layers of new information as he gets closer to the truth—a biological father, siblings, and family members he never knew about.

This is a story of accepting, forgiving, reuniting, and, most importantly, it’s about the bonds that connect us and the unconditional love that makes us feel like we belong.”

My Book Review:

This story is crazy! It’s one of those stories where you’re thinking, “You can’t make this stuff up!” Lindsay’s writing draws you in from the beginning. His writing style is easy to read, casual, and has a good amount of humor in it. It’s easy to get lost in this story because it flows well, it holds your attention, and you have to know more. What? What happens next? You found out what??

At the beginning of the book I wasn’t sure if I’d care about some unknown person’s family tree, but I did! I think I cared because of Lindsay’s writing. I loved the humor he added. Lindsay draws you in, and you feel like you’re a branch on his family tree. You care for the people he discusses; you cry with him, laugh with him, and are just as shocked as he is at some of the surprises he finds.

One thing I really wanted to know more about was his mother. That part of the story remains a mystery, and I think her side of the story is important. Not knowing her side definitely left a hole in the story. She would have been able to answer a whole bunch of my questions. 

My siblings are really good at family history. I find it fascinating, but I haven’t put as much time and effort in as they have. On my dad’s side, we can only go back as far as my great-great grandfather, and then the line stops. We, too, are now delving into the land of DNA to see if it helps. I hope we don’t find too many surprises along the way!

I enjoyed this book. It’s quite the story! I think it will inspire a few people to look into their family history because of the way Lindsay describes it, and because of his surprises. You’ll enjoy this book even if you’re not into family history at all.

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (This book is pretty clean. There isn’t any profanity or violence. There isn’t any “intimacy,” but there is a situation that is implied.)

Recommendation: YA+

My Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2yXxsCN

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Her Quiet Revolution by Marianne Monson

Her Quiet Revolution by Marianne Monson

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Book Review of Her Quiet Revolution by Marianne Monson

I have lived in Utah my entire life, and I had never heard of Martha Hughes Cannon until I read this book. Why? Why don’t they teach about people like her when we learn about our state’s history? It makes me wonder who else I haven’t learned about. What other people (women and men) are out there hidden in history that have made contributions to our society and we don’t even know it? Who else is out there that has done extraordinary things and has been passed over in the history books? Her Quiet Revolution is a historical fiction/biography of Martha Hughes Cannon. I’m not quite sure which genre to put it in. It’s fiction, but it’s based on Martha Hughes Cannon’s life. Marianne Monson included many relationships and events from Cannon’s life, but needed to add a little fiction when the truth wasn’t readily available.
 

Blurb:

A novel based on the life of Martha Hughes Cannon, a pioneer woman who overcame tremendous odds.


When her baby sister and her father die on the pioneer trail to Salt Lake City, Mattie is determined to become a healer. But her chosen road isn’t an easy one as she faces roadblocks common to Victorian women. Fighting gender bias, geographic location, and mountains of self-doubt, Mattie pushed herself to become more than the world would have her be, only to have everything she’s accomplished called into question when she meets the love of her life: Angus Cannon, a prominent Mormon leader and polygamist.

From the American Frontier to European coasts, Martha’s path takes her on a life journey that is almost stranger than fiction as she learns to navigate a world run by men. But heartache isn’t far behind, and she learns that knowing who you are and being willing to stand up for what you believe in is what truly defines a person.

Her Quiet Revolution is the story of one woman’s determination to change her world, and the path she forged for others to follow.”

My Book Review:

As I read this book I couldn’t help but notice how much I take for granted as a woman living in the United States of America today. Yesterday was the primary election in my state, and I had the privilege of voting for the candidate I think should be the president of the United States of America. I graduated from college with a degree in elementary education, and no one questioned my skills or abilities. 29 sixth graders now call me their teacher. Thankfully, I don’t have to wear a dress to work every day. With my husband I own a home and a car. I get to drive wherever I want to, and whenever I want to—without a chaperone. I have rights, freedoms, and liberty.

Many women that have gone before me have not had these privileges, and many still do not have them today. I’m thankful to people like John Hancock, John Adams, Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Martha Hughes Cannon (I could name 100 more…) who have had the courage to see a different, better, and more equal path ahead.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved learning about Martha Hughes Cannon’s life. There’s also some history of the state of Utah, and of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, of which I am a member. Some of the history I knew previously, and some I did not. Ms. Monson did a great job of bringing the three pieces together into a story that seamlessly wove together.

Martha (Mattie) was an amazing woman. She serves as an example to everyone, especially women. At a time when women going to college were frowned upon, she didn’t care. She went anyway. Mattie endured a lot to get her medical degree. I loved how she also went on to improve her oratory skills as well. I am not going to go into her whole life here; for that you need to read the book. Suffice it to say that she accomplished many things and endured some rough trials in her lifetime. Martha Hughes Cannon paved the way for women in the United States of America to go to college, become doctors, vote, and serve as public servants.

The book is very well written. The writing style draws you into Mattie’s life, feelings, emotions, dreams, passions, and pain. The characters are well developed, realistic, and become your friends along the way. It’s obvious that Ms. Monson spent a lot of time researching this book. Her hard work pays off, for sure. I learned so much, but I also came away with questions of my own that I’d like to do more research on. There were some practices (like polygamy) that were stopped completely long ago, and others (like women healing the sick) that have somehow been forgotten along the way. I’d like to look more into the latter.

Whether or not you are from Utah, and whether or not you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you will enjoy learning about Martha Hughes Cannon. She may have been from Utah, but her legacy pertains to all women. The way she stood up to her trials and plowed right over them inspires me to be and do better. At a time when women did not go to college, she did. When women were not doctors, she was.

Mattie worked hard and stood up to disappointment, taunts and jeers, and unbelievers. Society really has come a long way in accepting that women are capable of being doctors, senators, scientists, and more—thank goodness! It may not be perfect yet, but we’ve come a long way. I’m thankful to those who sacrificed to bring us this far.

I think the title perfectly describes this book, and the cover art is beautiful and inviting. I really enjoyed this book. It’s an inspiring story of a woman who worked hard and followed her dreams. Martha Hughes Cannon definitely led a quiet revolution that overturned the erroneous stereotypes and misgivings of many people. Her quiet contribution helped pave the way for women everywhere to achieve their dreams.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy.” Some of the themes are geared toward older readers and would be a bit too much for younger readers.)

Recommendation: Young Adult+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/38nqouW

 

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Bill Marriott: Success is Never Final by Dale Van Atta

Bill-Marriott by Dale Van Atta

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Book Review of Bill Marriott: Success is Never Final by Dale Van Atta

I have a love/hate relationship with biographies of successful people. This book talks about what Bill Marriott was doing when he was my age, how much money he’d earned, and the success he’d achieved, and it makes me feel a little underwhelmed about my own achievements. I know it’s not fair or productive, so I don’t dwell on it, but…wow.  Maybe I need to up my game? Get into the hotel business? Nah, I guess raising a family and teaching sixth graders has its own importance, and it’s what I love. So I’ll stick with it for now. It does go to show you what you can accomplish if you work hard, and that’s a take-away we can all learn from. I hope you enjoy my book review of Bill Marriott: Success is Never Final by Dale Van Atta.

Blurb:

“Bill Marriott—son of J. Willard Marriott, who opened a root-beer stand that grew into the Hot Shoppes Restaurant chain and evolved into the Marriott hotel company—grew up in the family business. In his more than fifty years at the company’s helm, Bill Marriott was the driving force behind growing Marriott into the world’s largest global hotel chain.

Bill Marriott: Success is Never Final gives readers an intimate portrait of the life of this business titan and his definition of success. Bill shares details about his private struggles with his domineering father’s chronic harsh criticism; his innovations in the hotel industry; and the boundless passion and energy he demonstrated for his work, family, and faith. Bill also shares spiritual experiences that allowed him to recognize God’s guidance in his personal life.

  • Details the story from Bill Marriott’s first job in his family’s restaurants to his monumental decisions in building Marriott into the largest hotel chain in the world.
  • A boat explosion, just a week after his father died, caused a fire that severely burned Bill’s body and damaged his hands so significantly, it was unclear if he would be able to use his fingers.
  • Part of Bill’s management legacy includes substantial and widespread philanthropic work, educational programs, and community outreach.
  • As a business leader, Bill has met with American presidents, foreign dignitaries, and other business moguls. The biography is filled with newly told, behind-the-scenes, intimate stories such as ‘family dinners’ with the Eisenhowers and the Marriotts.
  • Readers will learn the fascinating details about the successes and failures of Bill’s business ventures and relate to his challenges of balancing roles as a CEO, a husband and father, and a man of faith.

This is the remarkable story of a man who had the vision to create a multibillion-dollar business, who understood the power of giving, and who lived the creed that hard work will pay off but success is never final.”

My Book Review:

I’ve stayed in Marriott hotels before, and I’ve seen them as we’ve traveled, but I didn’t know very much about its beginnings or the man who took it to the top. Now I know a lot about each of those things, and lots of other stuff as well! This book is VERY detailed. I’m not sure how anyone can remember so much from so long ago. I know that both Bill Marriott and his father, J. Willard, kept good journals, and I have to say that it paid off. There is so much information in this book! It even goes into detail about the Marriott ancestors that crossed the plains to end up in Utah.

Not only does it chronicle Bill’s life, but it goes in-depth into his father and mother’s upbringings as well. There is a lot about the relationship between Bill and his father. Unfortunately, most of it doesn’t sound very good. This book goes step-by-step into how the Marriott company began and evolved over the years. I had never heard of a Hot Shoppe restaurant before. Have you? They sound like quite an adventure! I found it interesting to learn about several things Bill tried that didn’t do very well. Did you know he owned a cruise ship? Or a few theme parks? Crazy, right?

Bill Marriot: Success is Never Final is well written. As I stated previously, it’s VERY detailed. There were a few things that I didn’t really care to know, but it was interesting to see how everything shaped Bill’s life in the way it did. I can tell that this book was very well researched. I thought the book flowed well; it was mostly easy to read and understand. There were a few technical paragraphs talking about stocks or financing that I didn’t know anything about. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand them as well.

 My favorite thing about this book was to see Bill’s drive, work ethic, and devotion to his family and faith. I’m not sure how he fit it all in! I’m sure he didn’t want some of his failures to be brought up, but it was also good to see that he is just a normal guy who makes mistakes and learns from them. His work ethic and charity are such a good example of what you need to do to succeed at something.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (Although there is not a ton, there is some profanity in this book.)

Age Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 3.5/5

3.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2ZVIKid

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
 

Deep Conviction by Steven T. Collis

Cover Art of Deep Conviction by Steven T Collis

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Book Review of Deep Conviction by Steven T. Collis

I have to admit that on a normal, daily basis, I do not usually think about the freedom of religion. I definitely take it for granted. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I go to church on Sunday and I read scripture and pray throughout the week. I take full advantage of religious freedom, but yet I never really think about it. It’s just something that’s always been there. I am ashamed to say that I haven’t ever really thought about what it has taken to secure that freedom throughout the years. I fully acknowledge how blessed we are in the United States to be able to enjoy that freedom. There are still places around the world that do not have the same privilege, and to them I am sorry. I promise that I will no longer take this freedom for granted. Deep Conviction by Steven T. Collis brings the importance of religious freedom into the light and recognizes some of the sacrifices that have been made in order to secure that right.

Blurb:

Deep Conviction features four ordinary Americans who put their reputations and livelihoods at risk as they fought to protect their first amendment right to live their personal beliefs. Though these individuals couldn’t be more different, they share a similar conviction and determination.

  • In the winter of 1813, in rural New York City, a Catholic priest faced prison after a grand jury subpoenaed him for refusing to divulge the identity of a criminal who admitted his guilt during the sacrament of confession.
  • In the summer of 1959, an atheist pushed his attempt to become a Maryland notary public all the way to the United States Supreme Court because the state required him to sign an oath that said he believed in God.
  • In 1989 a Klamath Indian man walked into the highest court of our nation supported by legions of members of the Native American Church to plead for the freedom to practice his beliefs after years of oppression.
  • And, finally, in 2017, a Christian baker in Denver had his beliefs and actions scrutinized by the Supreme Court after he refused service to a gay couple who wanted to purchase a custom wedding cake.

These stories were specifically chosen for the universality and for the broad principles they represent. Most importantly, the notion of religious freedom for all, truly cherished, allows justice and protection for everyone, religious or not.”

My Book Review:

I was a little hesitant to read this book because I thought reading about court cases might be a little boring. Let me tell you how wrong I was. Steven T. Collis has a gift with words. He took these old court cases and brought them to life. I was enthralled! I couldn’t put it down! The law is not my thing—I teach sixth grade—but Collis held me captivated. As he described the laws and the courtroom scenes, I felt like I was there. I could feel the tension in the room, and I think I held my breath as I waited to hear the final decisions. He has a gift for storytelling.

I loved the writing style of this book. Seriously. It’s easy to read and understand, it flows well, and it draws you in. I did have to go back and reread a few paragraphs because I’m not used to reading the technical language of law, but that was my own fault. Collis’ descriptions of the people, their histories, and their lives make you feel like you have known them for years. The way he describes the courtroom scenes allows you to see a glimpse into the past, and to feel like you were there to see it happen.

When the law burdens one faith group—including atheists or agnostics—over another, it is only a matter of time before the unfavored group gains power. Once it does, it will use the law for its own ends. This results in factions vying for government power and turning it into a spear they can use to promote only their beliefs. (p. 163)

If the government is permitted to attempt to influence religious beliefs and commitments, each religious faction must necessarily seek to conrol or at least influence the government so the faction’s members will be more benefitted than harmed. Even if government is permitted only to express views about religion, religious factions will seek to control or influence the government so that they can control or influence the religious views that it expresses. (p.155)

When religious liberty is truly valued, government may not punish anyone for their beliefs, no matter who happens to control the reins of power in that particular moment. (p. 165)

The importance of religious freedom cannot be downplayed or forgotten. It must be protected and fought for. Sacrifices must be made in order to keep government in check. I have never met the people in these stories, but their sacrifices and suffering have paved the way for all of us to keep our religious freedom. Whether you go to church every week or do not believe in God at all, freedom of religion protects us from one group persecuting another or forcing the other to believe something.

At first I was worried that this book would be boring or dry, but it is not. I truly could not put it down. It held me captivated for chapter after chapter. This principle is so important. I loved this book and highly recommend it!

Content Rating PG-13+Content Rating: PG-13+ (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy” in this book, but there are some graphic descriptions. Mostly, I think younger readers will not understand, appreciate, or fully grasp the concept of this book.)

Age Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2EmLAFd

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Slave Stealers by Timothy Ballard Women of the Blue and Gray by Marianne Monson
 
 
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Invisible Heroes of World War II by Jerry Borrowman

Invisible Heroes of WWII by Jerry Borrowman

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Book Review of Invisible Heroes of World War II by Jerry Borrowman

I have read a lot of books about World War II. Some fiction and some nonfiction. Many of them are told from different viewpoints: prisoner of war, concentration camp survivor, little girl, soldier, and even death. This book is different in that it doesn’t follow a storyline. There’s no plot. This book details the experiences of several individuals or groups during World War II. Some of them are men and some of them are women. I especially liked hearing the women’s stories because it doesn’t seem like there are as many out there as there are for the men. Some of the experiences are on the battlefront, and some of them are closer to home. Each story gives you a little more insight into what people went through during the war. It’s always good to remember the past so we don’t need to repeat it. I hope you enjoy my book review of Invisible Heroes of World War II  by Jerry Borrowman.

Blurb:

Invisible Heroes of World War II documents the largely untold true stories of a diverse group of soldiers and noncombatants—men and women—from all over the world who fought with the Allies during World War II. These heroes made significant contributions in the war effort, but often went unnoticed by historical accounts.

Some were frontline soldiers who were captured by the enemy and endured horrific conditions as prisoners of war, others were ordinary citizens who fought in the French Resistance and provided vital operations to undermine Nazi occupation, while others were engineers, industry workers, or war correspondents and photographers. All served with valor and distinction as part of the massive Allied forces who fought to free the world from tyranny and oppression.

  • Features people of diverse backgrounds in age, race, ethnicity, and social status.
  • June 6, 2019 will be the 75th anniversary of D-Day.”

My Book Review:

Each of these stories is so compelling. The first story jumps right into the story of a prisoner of war. It’s a vantage point I have read before, but it starts in the Philippines, which I know I haven’t read about previously. I really had no idea what went on in the Philippines, so it was interesting to read about in detail. After reading Pat Patton’s experience, I can understand why some people had such harsh feelings against the Japanese. Like Louis Zampirini, Pat Patton suffered because of the brutality of his Japanese captors.

Another section of the book talks about Rosie the Riveter and how she came to be.  I liked learning about the different women who worked in plants and factories. It’s interesting how attitudes towards women working outside of the home have changed in the years since World War II. Ronnie the Bren Gun Girl and Charlcia Neumen were just a couple of women featured. They did very different jobs—one making guns and the other riveting planes—but each was an important job that made a big impact. Afterward, Charlcia said,

“It was a very good experience for me because of the challenge of doing something like that, to prove to myself that I could do it…I didn’t think I could do it. So I found out I could do it; it was the type of thing that I could do, that I liked to do.”

I loved learning about the Navajo Code Talkers, the Purple Heart Battalion, Dickey Chapelle, Joseph Medicine Crow, and the engineers and builders. Ok, I really loved reading about all the people in this book. Seriously. It’s so good! The people and groups discussed in this book truly were heroes, and I think it’s imperative for all of us to really think about who we look up to and consider heroes. I added a few heroes to my list after reading this book. 

These are just a few of the remarkable people featured. We can learn so much from each of their experiences. I love that the people and groups spotlighted weren’t necessarily famous or well known.  Normal, ordinary people can achieve amazing things. (Why do we like hearing this? I think we all want hope that we can make a difference in the world even though we don’t think we’re special.) Each story is well written, compelling, and shows a part of the war that we need to remember and learn from. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know more about these heroes, and I think you will too!

invisible heroes blog tour

Content Rating RRating: R (War-time atrocities–some of them quite graphic.)

Recommendation: 16+ 

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2PNVdBc

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the book thief by markus zusak Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
 
 
 

Review of Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits by James Clear

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Book Review of Atomic Habits by James Clear

I swear, everywhere I turned, James Clear was there talking about his book. I heard him on several podcasts, heard other people talking about it, and then I kept seeing his book everywhere. Well, it worked. All that promotion definitely caught my attention. I reserved Atomic Habits at the library and then waited. After a brief wait, I checked the book out and brought it home. I was super excited to read it. Then life happened—school, kids, house, other books—and I kind of forgot I had the book. That was, until I got an email saying it was due back to the library. Oops! I hadn’t even started it yet. Guess what I did? I started the book. Yep, I didn’t take it back. That was a couple of weeks ago, and I just finished the book. Ummm…yeah, I’m going to have quite the fine, but I had to finish! If you haven’t heard anything about this book, check out my book review of Atomic Habits by James Clear.

Blurb:

“No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for getting 1% better every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change. You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. In Atomic Habits, you’ll get a plan that can take you to new heights.

Clear is known for his ability to distill complex topics into simple behaviors that can be readily applied to daily life and work. Here, he draws on ideas from biology, psychology, and neuroscience to create an easy-to-understand guide for making good habits inevitable and bad habits impossible. Along the way, readers will be inspired and entertained with true stories from Olympic god medalists, award-winning artists, business leaders, life-saving physicians, and star comedians who have used the science of small habits to vault to the top of their fields.

Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and give you the tools and techniques you need to transform your habits—whether you are an athlete looking to win a championship, a leader hoping to optimize an organization, or an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, and achieve success that lasts.”

My Book Review:

I know you’re asking…was it worth the big fine at the library? In a word, yes! I have never thought about habits in this way. It is clearly a new way of thinking, and it takes a bit of a shift in perspective. However, once that shift is made, I think it will be difficult to go back to the old way of thinking. Clear makes it seem so easy!

This book is very well written. His writing is clear and to the point. His writing style is easy to read and understand. The book has a great progression from small to big-picture, and each chapter is well thought-out and full of ideas. I like the chapter summaries at the end of each chapter that give the reader quick bullet points to remember what was taught. There are also diagrams throughout each chapter that do a great job of illustrating his points.

I love the examples that Clear uses to show and explain his thoughts and ideas. He uses Olympic athletes, professional sports coaches, and important business people’s routines and processes to show how it all works, and it makes it seem so simple! He’s not naïve, though. Clear knows that it’s harder than it seems, so he does a good job explaining how easy it is to fall off the habit-train. What’s great is that he gives you ideas on how to make it easier to start, follow, and continue habits.

I feel so ready to start some habits! I’m pumped, and I’m also ready for the long-haul. This truly is a remarkable book. It’s filled with a new way of thinking about habits, and a simple shift in perspective that will allow people of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and abilities to improve their lives. This book aims to make people the best they can be, and I’m excited to get started!

Content Rating PG+Content Rating: PG+ (There’s no profanity, “intimacy,” or violence in this book.)

Age Recommendation: YA (13-18+) and Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2TcCtLO

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the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel does change have to be so hard
 
 

Seven at Sea by Erik and Emily Orton

Seven at Sea by Erik and Emily Orton

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Book Review of Seven at Sea by Erik and Emily Orton

Wow! What an adventure! I grew up boating—on lakes. I love it so much. I’m a pretty good slalom skier, and I love the feel of the wind as you cruise on top of the water. However, when the weather turns nasty, I want to be as far away from the water as possible. The big waves scare me. A lot. It scares me so much that I won’t even go on the cruise my husband wants to go on. You know, the one on the really big, fancy boat. There is absolutely no way you’d get me in a 38 ft. catamaran that I’d have to sail. Through the Caribbean. With my four kids. And the Ortons have five kids. They are brave and adventurous! I admire their sense of family, and am kind of jealous of some of the lessons they learned together, but I think I’d rather learn some of those lessons on land. Learn more about their book, and their adventure, in my book review of Seven at Sea by Erik and Emily Orton.

Blurb:

“Working the night shift as a temp in a high-rise cubicle, Erik Orton knew something had to change. He felt the responsibility of providing for his wife and their five children—the youngest with Down syndrome—but craved a life that offered more than just surviving.

Watching the sailboats on the Hudson River during his sunset dinner breaks, Erik dared to dream. What would it be like to leave the hustle of the city and instead spend a year on a sailboat, somewhere beautiful, as a family? Despite having no sailing experience, his wife Emily’s phobia of deep water, and already stretching every dollar to pay rent and buy groceries, the family of seven turned their excuses into reasons and their fears into motivation. Sure, they would miss their friends, they could go broke, they could get injured or die. Worst of all, they could humiliate themselves by trying something audacious and failing. But the little time they still had together as a family, before their oldest daughter left for college, was drifting away. The Ortons cast off the life they knew to begin an uncertain journey of 5,000 miles between New York City and the Caribbean, ultimately arriving at a new place within themselves.

A portrait of a captivating and resilient family and a celebration of the courage it takes to head for something over the horizon, this is a deeply compelling story—told alternately by Erik and Emily—for all those who dream of leaving routine in their wake.”

My Book Review:

I just have to say that they are way braver than I am! There is no way my husband could ever talk me into doing something like this. I’m way too scared of the ocean. I don’t mind playing in the waves if the water is warm, but I’m scared of going on a cruise on a big, fancy boat. Yeah, no way. However, I do greatly admire them. I have a 17 year-old who will be a senior next year, and I would love to do something like this, but on land. I’d love to have my family all to myself for just a little while.

This book is well written. I liked the writing styles of both Erik and Emily. Sometimes I had to look back to see which one of them had written that chapter, but it was usually obvious by their writing. As a woman, I thought it was interesting to read Erik’s point of view. It’s not often we women get to delve into a man’s brain like that. I definitely related more to Emily, but it’s always great to hear the other point of view. Each of their chapters were well thought-out and full of emotion.

I found it interesting that you could feel the tension between them in some of the chapters. It wasn’t always easy. They made sure the reader knew that it was a hard journey. Living in a little boat like that with seven people for that long would be very difficult, and I appreciated their honesty. I know how frustrated I get sometimes when we’re camping for a week. Haha! Living on a boat would be so hard. I think they all had to learn how to read each other and give space, if needed. They also had to learn how to individually handle their personal struggles so they didn’t turn into a complete meltdown.

I loved learning about their journey! The strength and growth of the children was amazing to see. What an amazing memory and story they’ll always have to tell. I’d love to read about this journey from their perspectives as well. Some of the lessons they learned will be invaluable in their lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although I’d never want to do it on the ocean, I may need to make time for a similar land journey. Maybe travel across the country, or something. I highly recommend this book. It’s fun to read about people reaching and fulfilling their dreams. It allows you, as the reader, to dream and plan too.  

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There isn’t any violence in this book, and there are only one or two swear words. However, there are two occasions where they mention that they, “Make love.” There aren’t any details or descriptions–that’s all it says.)

Age Recommendation: Young Adult (14+) and Adult

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2Ux1D9p

 

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  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
 
 
Featured Image Credit: Goodreads.com