Category: Self Help

THE HAPPIEST KIDS IN THE WORLD by Rina Mae Acosta & Michele Hutchison

Narrated with Henrietta Meire. Available now from Blackstone Audio. From the Publisher: “The secret to raising the happiest kids in the world? Whatever it is, it’s somewhere in the Netherlands. Would parents rather their children be successful or happy? Kids in the US face lots of pressure to excel – often at the expense of happiness. But does it have to be this way? Not in the Netherlands! In The Happiest Kids in the World, expats Rina Mae Acosta and Michele Hutchison – both married to Dutchmen and bringing up their kids in the Netherlands – examine the unique environment that enables the Dutch to turn out such well-adjusted, independent children. With heaps of good humor, and no shortage of amazement, the authors are delighted to find that babies get an average of 15 hours of sleep per day, children learn bike safety and proficiency in school, teenagers are less likely to get pregnant than their counterparts in almost every other nation, and parents really do serve chocolate sprinkles for breakfast! Along the way, they discover that the most commonly strived-for grade is just passing (6 points out of 10), how to achieve the perfect work-life balance, and that being normal is crazy enough.” From the Booklist review: The book’s alternating narrative lends itself to audio format. White voices Acosta’s wry American perspective, while Meire’s smooth English accent conveys Hutchison’s parental worries and insights. Both women keep the pace moving briskly, ably handling the occasional handful of tongue-twisting Dutch words. From the review in AudioFile Magazine: “Authors Rina Mae Acosta, an American, and Michele Hutchison, a Briton, both moved to the Netherlands to be with their Dutch husbands and to start their families. Taking turns, Acosta and Hutchison describe their experiences with child-rearing in the Netherlands. Their respective sections alternate between American narrator Karen White and British narrator Henrietta Meire, a production choice that helps to clearly delineate each author’s perceptions. In sharp contrast to life in the U.S. and Britain, the authors paint a picture of a country that emphasizes the happiness and emotional well-being of both children and their parents, while at the same time delivering outstanding educational results. Narrators Meire and White both deliver clear and engaging performances, letting the authors’ interesting observations about Dutch culture speak for themselves.” My recording experience: First, THIS VIDEO: But all hagelslag aside, I found this book to be wonderfully thought provoking, on subjects from work-life balance to helping my teen approach her college applications. Whether you’re a new parent or you’ve been doing it a few years, I recommend this book! Also, many thanks to my good friend Cisca Brouwer, who talked me through all the Dutch pronunciations. All errors . . .

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IT TAKES ONE TO TANGO by Winifred M. Reilly

Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “Conventional wisdom says that “it takes two” to turn a troubled marriage around and that both partners must have a shared commitment to change. So when couples can’t agree on how—or whether—to make their marriage better, many give up or settle for a less-than-satisfying marriage (or think the only way out is divorce). Fortunately, there is an alternative. It Takes One to Tango is a groundbreaking guide that shows how one determined partner—acting alone—can spark lasting, significant change in a marriage, often accomplishing change that cannot be made any other way. It doesn’t matter how short-fused, argumentative, or seemingly impossible your partner can be—or how long you’ve been stuck. Marriage and family therapist Winifred Reilly has this message for struggling partners: Take the lead. Doing so is effective—and powerful.” My recording experience: I find that I can take something of use from most self-help books, and this one was no exception. Reilly draws on her own experience as well as that of her patients and the often self-deprecating tone of her writing makes the work seem do-able and practical. Highly recommended if you’re feeling stuck in a relationship! Listen to a sample here: If you’d like to buy a copy, using this link, I’ll receive a small percentage from Amazon through their Associates program. Narrators don’t earn royalties, so this is a way I can be compensated for marketing the book.

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EVERYTHING CHANGES by Beverly Conyers plus Giveaway

Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “A relative or friend has finally taken those tentative first steps toward sobriety. With the relief of this life-changing course of action comes a new and difficult set of challenges for recovering addicts and those who love them. Family members and friends often find themselves unsure of how to weather such a dramatic turn, as the rules and routines of their relationships no longer pertain. Everything Changes assuages fears and uncertainty by teaching loved ones of newly recovering addicts how to navigate the often-tumultuous early months of recovery. Beverly Conyers, author of the acclaimed Addict in the Family, again shares the hope and knowledge that she gained as a parent of a recovering addict by focusing on the aftermath of addiction. She outlines the physical and psychological changes that recovering addicts go through, and offers practical tools to help family members and friends: build a fresh, rewarding relationship with the addict be supportive without setting themselves up for disappointment avoid enabling destructive behavior set and maintain boundaries cope with relapse deal with the practicalities of sober living” My recording experience: Thankfully, I personally have not had to cope with the challenges Conyers outlines in this book but I found it to be a wonderful balance of uplifting inspiration with very practical advice and statistics. Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  The randomly selected winner has been contacted and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!

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FINDING YOUR OWN NORTH STAR by Martha Beck plus GIVEAWAY!

Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “The North Star—Stella Polaris—is a fixed point that can always be used to figure out which way you’re headed. Explorers and mariners can depend on Polaris when there are no other landmarks in sight. The same relationship exists between you and your right life, the ultimate realization of your potential for happiness. I believe that a knowledge of that perfect life sits inside you just as the North Star sits in its unaltering spot. You may think you’re utterly lost, but brush away the leaves, wait for the clouds to clear, and you’ll see your destiny shining as brightly as ever; the fixed point in the constantly changing constellations of your life.” —Martha Beck As the creator of Life Designs, Inc., Martha Beck has helped hundreds of clients find their own North Star and figure out how to fulfill their potential and create joyful lives through her lectures, seminars, and one-on-one counseling. In this book, she shares her step-by-step program that will guide you to fulfill your own potential.” My recording experience: I found this book to be full of very practical advice (and if the section on ESP doesn’t speak to you, don’t worry – that’s only a small part of the book).  I also enjoyed Beck’s sense of humor which kept the book grounded.  My own piece of advice is to be ready to use the questionnaires and exercises provided in the bonus PDF.  To get the most from the book, you’ll want to stop listening and do the exercise.  So this may not be the best book for a long drive…. Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Sally is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering!  I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter. Oftentimes, you can also enter there!  

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LIVE HAPPY by Deborah K. Heisz plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Harper Audio. From the Publisher: “An eye-opening shift of perspective on the secret of authentic happiness: how surprisingly simple, everyday acts lead to lifelong joy and fulfillment, from the experts at Live Happy magazine. We are all increasingly hungry for soul-deep happiness. All over the globe, from the hallways of Harvard, where the university’s most popular course is a class on positive psychology, to the United Nations’ resolution naming March 20th the International Day of Happiness, the question of how to be authentically happy concerns millions of lives today. But what if the secret of lasting happiness is actually . . . simple? Now, in Live Happy, the editors of Live Happy magazine, the first lifestyle publication dedicated to the timeless quest to achieve authentic happiness, reveal that true happiness is all about the big impact of small acts of everyday happiness. Organized around the key components of a happy life, from gratitude to attitude and play to purpose, Live Happy brings together illuminating real-life happiness stories, eye-opening examinations on the science of happiness, and simple and inspiring everyday “happy acts” to empower readers to achieve big happiness breakthroughs. Authentic happiness is within reach—and Live Happy shows readers how they can manifest it not only in their own lives but also make a positive and lasting difference in the world.” Review from AudioFile Magazine: “Karen White narrates this clear-headed review of happiness psychology, unfolding her syllables so deliberately that the book’s message seems at first to be weighed down by formality and intensity. But once listeners adapt, White’s otherwise likable performance works well because her vocal character ultimately fits the author, a high-flying former tech executive who now leads a happiness magazine. After a succinct survey of the happiness literature, the author describes 10 practices that can improve our sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with life. Our attitudes, health habits, relationships, spiritual mindset, resilience, and generosity are addressed, and all are subject to our control. The thoroughness of this writing, combined with the author’s obvious dedication to her work, should make LIVE HAPPY a seminal audio in anyone’s personal growth library.” My recording experience: This was the first book I recorded in 2016, and it was such a wonderful way to start my year.  I’d already been keeping a journal, but I’ve added some things to it as a result of reading this book and I restarted a meditation practice. It’s truly one of those books that has something for everyone in it, so I encourage you to check it and/or Live Happy magazine out. Listen to a sample here: And, the Giveaway: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED. Becky is the randomly selected winner.  Thanks to all . . .

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FORTIFY YOUR LIFE by Tieraona Low Dog plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Blackstone Audio.  From the Publisher: “Readily find your way to better health with this guide to nutritional supplements and holistic health Health-conscious consumers read nutritional labels, but it’s nearly impossible to get the nutrients we need with diet alone. To get the USDA-recommended daily quota of vitamin D, for example, you need to eat 15 eggs or 26 sardines; of iron, 414 almonds or 15 cups of broccoli. So we rely on nutritional supplements—vitamins and minerals, probiotics and enzymes—but the variety of pills, products, and elixirs on the market today is overwhelming. And, as we have seen in recent news, some of these products are downright fakes. Trusted natural health physician and bestselling author Tieraona Low Dog, MD, provides a personalized approach to using nutritional supplements for your specific health needs, helping you navigate the complex and often confusing landscape of vitamins, minerals, and more. Dr. Low Dog explains the basics about every essential nutritional supplement and guides the listener in creating a personalized supplement plan, tailored to individual genetics, age, gender, and lifestyle. Low Dog evaluates current research, explains the relationship between food and supplements, describes how medications cause chemical imbalances in the body, and advises on how to judge brands and read labels. Low Dog engages and encourages listeners to take charge of their own health and provides guidance to finding the right combination of nutritional supplements to improve mood, strength, energy, and overall well-being.” My recording experience: As with Dr. Low Dog’s previous book, Healthy at Home, I found this book to be very useful. You’ll want to check out the PDFs included because the charts are very helpful.  I have been taking a new set of vitamins and other supplements since recording this book in December, and I haven’t been sick once! (Despite my inability to address the stress issues in my life, but that’s another book, I guess.) Listen to a sample here: And, the Giveaway: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Connie, who entered on Twitter, is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering! I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter.

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RUNNING ON EMPTY by Jonice Webb, Phd plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Tantor Media. From the Publisher: “Do you sometimes feel as if you’re just going through the motions in life? Are you good at looking and acting as if you’re fine, but secretly feel lonely and disconnected? If so, you are not alone. The world is full of people who have an innate sense that something is wrong with them. Who feel they live on the outside looking in, but have no explanation for their feeling and no way to put it into words. If you are one of these people, you may fear that you are not connected enough to your spouse, or that you don’t feel pleasure or love as profoundly as others do. You may drink too much, or eat too much, or risk too much, in an attempt to feel something good. Running on Empty will give you clear strategies for how to heal, and offers a special chapter for mental health professionals. In the world of human suffering, this book is an Emotional Smart Bomb meant to eradicate the effects of an invisible enemy.” My recording experience: I think I always turn into a bit of a hypochondriac when I narrate self help or medical books.  I end up feeling like I have the problem.  But I guess that is part of immersing myself in the subject matter!  In any case, if any part of Webb‘s description of Emotional Neglect resonates with you, you might find this book of use, as it is both insightful and practical. Listen to a sample here: And the Giveaway: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Mary C. is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering! I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter.

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UNREQUITED: Women and Romantic Obsession by Lisa A. Phillips plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Tantor Audio. From the Publisher: “The summer Lisa A. Phillips turned thirty, she fell in love with someone who didn’t return her feelings. She soon became obsessed. She followed him around, called him compulsively, and talked about him endlessly. One desperate morning, after she snuck into his apartment building, he picked up a baseball bat to protect himself and began to dial 911. Her unrequited love had changed her from a sane, conscientious college teacher and radio reporter into someone she barely recognized—someone who was taking her yearning much too far. In Unrequited, Phillips explores the tremendous force of obsessive love in women’s lives. Interweaving her own story with frank interviews and in-depth research in science, psychology, cultural history, and literature, Phillips describes how romantic obsession takes root, grows, and strongly influences our thoughts and behaviors. As she illuminates this mysterious psychological experience, placing it in a rich and nuanced context, Phillips offers compelling insights to help any woman who has experienced unrequited obsessive love and been mystified and troubled by its grip.” My recording experience: I honestly had no idea what to expect when I set out to read this book, and I have to say that I think it’s one of the most unique books I’ve ever read, and it totally works.  Phillips has skillfully woven together her own life experience with that of other women who’ve done surprising things while in the throes of unrequited love, put them in perspective using the sciences and history and myth to create a very readable (and hopefully listen-able!) final product.  It had me thinking about some of the crazy things I’ve done in the name of love (endless letters to that director from London, making my friends ride by the house of that boy I was obsessed with in 8th grade, etc.).  The most important thing Phillips does is challenge us to find the deeper drive behind the obsession – what in ourselves are we trying to create, find or heal, that we have projected onto this man? Fascinating stuff! Listen to a sample here: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Joan is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering! I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter.

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MOTHERHOOD SMOTHERHOOD by JJ Keith

Fighting Back Against the Lactivists, Mompetitions, Germophobes, and So-Called Experts Who Are Driving Us Crazy Available now from Audible. com  From the Publisher: “What’s the first thing a woman does when she thinks she might be pregnant? She Googles. And it goes downhill from there. While the internet is full of calming and cheerily supportive articles, it’s also littered with hyper-judgmental message boards and heaps of contradictory and scolding information.Motherhood Smotherhood takes parents through the trenches of new parenting, warning listeners of the pleasures and perils of mommy blogs, new parent groups, self-described “lactivists”, sleep fascists, incessant trend pieces on working versus non-working mothers, and the place where free time and self-esteem goes to die: Pinterest (back away from the hand-made flower headbands for baby!). JJ Keith interweaves discussions of what “it takes a village” really means (hint: a lot of unwanted advice from elderly strangers who may have grown up in actual villages) and a take-down of the rising “make your own baby food” movement (just mush a banana with a fork!) with laugh-out-loud observations about the many mistakes she made as a frantic new mother with too much access to high speed internet and a lot of questions. Keith cuts to the truth – whether it’s about “perfect” births, parenting gurus, the growing tide of vaccine rejecters, the joy of blanketing Facebook with baby pics, or germophobia – to move conversations about parenting away from experts espousing blanket truths to amateurs relishing in what a big, messy pile of delight and trauma having a baby is.” My recording experience: Oh, this book made me laugh.  And wish that it had been around when I was pregnant/parenting babies and toddlers.  And think of a list of people that I wanted to give it to.  Granted, Keith’s sense of humor is on the irreverent side, and she’s not shy with her use of, shall we say, colorful language.  So it’s not for every brand of new mom.  But if you’re like me, and your parenting experience was full of both anxiety and hilarity, then you’d be on board.  The following quote describing one such moment kind of summed up Keith’s writing style to me: “That right there is a vomit sundae.”  Enjoy. Listen to a sample here:

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THE PRICE OF SILENCE by Liza Long plus GIVEAWAY

Available now from Blackstone Audio at Downpour.com From the Publisher: “Liza Long is the mother of a child with an undiagnosed mental disorder. When she heard about the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, her first thought was, “What if my son does that someday?” She wrote an emotional response to the tragedy, which the Boise State University online journal posted as “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” The post went viral, receiving 1.2 million Facebook likes, nearly 17,000 tweets, and 30,000 emails. Now, in The Price of Silence she takes a devastating look at how we address mental illness, especially in children, who are funneled through a system of education, mental health care, and juvenile detention that leads far too often to prison. In the end she asks one central question: If there’s a poster child for cancer, why can’t there be one for mental illness? The answer: the stigma. Liza Long is speaking in a way that we cannot help but hear, and she won’t stop until something changes.” My recording experience: This is a powerful book and a must read for all parents, really for all of us, whether or not we have someone in our lives who suffers from mental illness or a developmental disability.  Though from Long‘s research, it seems as though it’d be unlikely that any of us live lives untouched by either.  I hope that this is the beginning of a conversation in this country that leads to positive change.  As with many of our current social ills, leaving things as they are is likely to spell disaster. Listen to a sample here: THE GIVEAWAY: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.  Miss Susie is the randomly selected winner and the CDs will be mailed out to her as soon as I get her address.  Thanks to all for entering! I give away lots of books – to find out about them in the future, please consider following this blog, or my Facebook page, or on Twitter.  

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