Bubble Books

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.”

– Unknown

In Kristan’s book reviews she candidly explains why she recommends the books she reads. If you are a type A, creative, Christian, with a little “racy” thought process, her insights will resonate with you. The 5-star rating gives a snapshot reco, based on content, entertainment, flow/plot evolution, character development, and personal edification/lessons learned.

Prison of Your Own

Author: Sean Michael Crane
Published by:Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: 2010
List Price: $10.49
Tagged: Personal development, health, mental health, fiction, prison reform

Here’s the truth of the matter, Sean Crane and I were both talking at a convention. I always like to get to know the other speakers, so we hung out for a bit. His story is not one I’ve EVER heard before, at least not in real life.

Sean had a not-so-easy upbringing and he shares how he came to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up going to prison for 7 years. It was there that he found him self and his reason for living.

When you talk to Sean in person, and when you read his book, they are the same. I mean both are genuine. His writing is like his talking. Please don’t be fooled to believe that this prisoner is a dummy. In fact, it’s the opposite. He’s the poster child for prison reform. He was headed down the wrong road and then self-corrected through the prison system. He took all of the opportunities, then some, to resurrect his childhood dreams of becoming someone important.

He shares his journey and he doesn’t allow any of the readers to have an excuse to not become the best You possible. The insights behind the prison walls, the rough upbringing, and the merge back into society are peeks that the average person won’t see or hear about. Sean is candid and inspiring. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

Heaven is For Real

Author: Todd Burpo
Published by:Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: 2010
List Price: $10.49
Tagged: Christianity, Heaven, child, fiction

From the mouth of babes... what an interesting book. This is a beautiful story that tells of too many coincidences to be just that. I call these God-instances instead.

Young boy Burpo has a life-threatening medical thing and dies, for an ever-so brief time. He goes to heaven before returning to his family. That’s the premise of this book. I would write an extremely long explantation, but the book is short… and the devil is in the details, so to speak.

If you’ve seen the movie, that’s great. But as always, the book has many more details and nuances that bring the realism of this boys jaunt to heaven to life.

This would be a great book for anyone who has had a loved one pass and wanders what they’re encountering into heaven. What a beautiful cloud curtain to pull back.

Change Your World

Authors: John C. Maxwell & Rob Hoskins
Published by: Harper Collins Leadership
Publication Date: 2021
List Price: $14.89
Tagged: Leadership, Relationships, Equipping, Attitude, Transformation

Full disclosure, I am a certified John Maxwell Speaker, Coach & Trainer. This is not a "required" book for me to read. But after going on a mission trip with John, my friend and mentor, along with nearly 200 other like-minded people to Dominican Republic...I put this book on my reading list.

Change Your World truly shares how anyone, anywhere, in any circumstance can Make a Difference. The book is co-authored with Rob Haskins, the president of OneHope. It’s not coincidence that these two dynamos teamed up to share what transformational situations and decisions – whether out of need, desperation or just plain chance – can change the world for any or all of us.

Look, I’m a bottom-line kind of gal. If you’re complacent and don’t want to make any changes because life can’t get any better for you, then this book won’t change your world. Your heartbeat isn’t in sync with those of us who want to make a difference in their communities and thereby the world. This book is intended to give valuable tools and exposure to others who have changed themselves and their communities.

This is a values-based book. John and Rob share the importance of things such as a TEAM…Together Everyone Accomplished More, passion, failure, experience, relationships, influence, vision, celebrations of good stuff and use of time.

On a personal note, I did this a little backwards. As mentioned I went on a mission trip. I applied the tools shared inside this book BEFORE reading it. I was taught by the designers how to facilitate values/transformation tables. I saw first hand how this book plays out in real life. I saw transformation in a country thirsty for an infusion of values, application and accountability.

I give this book a 5-star rating. I would venture to say the John Maxwell wrapped up his desire to leave a legacy to keep on giving values inside the words etched on each page. On top of this great resource (the book), you will also find free, accompanying materials to Change Your World at ChangeYourWorld.com. Just so you know, this is not a plug for the book or the website as much as it is an opportunity for you to change yourself and your community for the better…to change the world for the better.

WORK-LIFE Reset

Author: Fawn Germer
Published by: Boulevard Books
Publication Date: 2016
List Price: $15.85
Tagged: Self-help, Work, Life, Balance, Reset, Transition

During a time of personal transition between careers and major life changes (cancer crap, teenager’s puberty mess & adopting 2 older girls), I finally pulled this book off the shelf. Sounded perfect for my timing - the need for a RESET. And it did not disappoint.

From my seat, of uncertainty, the reality is that I need to know who I am to improve my chances of a successful reset. This book is designed to expose each reader’s need to understand self, to find yourself, then, enjoy your life accordingly. The small things revealed throughout Fawn’s personal stories help to accentuate our gratitude through acknowledging the small things that make us happy and make us tick.

After several waves of pain that hit Fawn, she shares her journey to avoid anti-depressants. She finds a new happy normal by way of a consecutive full-day beach walks, bike rides and explorations near her Florida home. Let’s bottom line it, she had a lot of alone time to reflect, think, mourn, and reconnect with herself. On top of that she share her insights and reflections with actionable steps for readers to consider.

Fawn Germer’s small, subtle and sometimes overt “Get your self in alignment first” personal stories hit home for me. Not so ironic, Fawn, like me, is a former journalist. I can relate to her stories with an insider’s perspective. But even an outsider could relate to the “What do I do with all of this crap that is sticking to me? I want to move on, but just can’t”

This book, Work-Life Reset, I give 4 out of 5 stars. The only downside is that there were lulls of time while reading I checked out. It’s obvious that Fawn is a life coach and really good at her job. Honestly, there’s not a magic formula here for you or me. But there is one woman’s inspiring journey to find inner and outer peace. So if you find yourself in a lull of life or a transition, you’ll be inspired to determine your own “beach walk” adventure.

Crucial Conversations

Authors: Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler
Published by: McGraw-Hill
Publication Date: 2012
List Price: $20.00
Tagged: Self-help, Non-Verbal Communication, Body Language

I don’t think I’ve ever met a decent person who likes conflict. If you do, you might be a little sick. Just saying. But, if you have to encounter a tough conversation, Crucial Conversations is a good guide on how to do so.

This book is a great resource for people who struggle to share their point of view (POV) without losing their mind. There’s a bit of emotional intelligence that’s plugged in as well. Simple steps to engage another person is often overlooked on a day-to-day basis, but is revealed in Crucial Conversations. One that I use often is ABC’s, Agree – Build – Compare. Agreeing means simply explaining that you hear the other person’s POV. Building finds the common ground. Comparing reveals the differences. This technique and others mentioned in the book are easy tools for great leaders when managing others and building them up, even when they disagree.

It’s a book to keep around and refer to. I really like meat – the real-life stories and research – to help me remember what I have read. This book gives me plenty of meat; if you learn with analogies/stories like I do, they’re here.

Courses have been designed around Crucial Conversations throughout the world. I am no exception. I have a workshop specifically designed for helping individuals to mange conflict using applications in this book that are critical to handling the mental gymnastics. Emotional intelligence helps, but techniques are required for healthy work and life environments.

I highly recommend this book.

About the Author:

Kerry Patterson is a prolific writer who has coauthored numerous articles and award-winning training programs. Kerry taught at Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management and then cofounded Interact Performance Systems, where he worked for ten years as vice president of research and development. Kerry is a founder of VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and leadership development.

Joseph Grenny is a New York Times bestselling author, acclaimed keynote speaker, and leading social scientist for business performance. For thirty years, Joseph has delivered engaging keynotes at major conferences including the HSM World Business Forum at Radio City Music Hall. Joseph’s work has been translated into 28 languages, is available in 36 countries, and has generated results for 300 of the Fortune 500.

Ron McMillan is a sought-after speaker and consultant. He cofounded the Covey Leadership Center, where he served as vice president of research and development. He has worked with leaders ranging from first-level managers to executives to executives from the Fortune 500.

Al Switzler is a renowned consultant and speaker who has directed training and management initiatives with leaders from dozens of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He also served on the faculty of the Executive Development Center at the University of Morgan.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens
Published by: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: 2018
List Price: $26.00
Tagged: Novel

Being raised in the state of Louisiana, I have an affinity for marshlands. And I love crawfish (crawdads). So, when I saw the title Where the Crawdads Sing I was intrigued. And I was not disappointed. This novel is a real page-turner. I will say it’s at least a PG-13 rating because of a couple of sections.

Here’s the gist: Clear portraits of abuse, neglect, love, compassion, rape and class-warfare ooze from the pages. While gut-wrenching and “How the heck does that sort of thing happen?” comes out…so does resiliency and brilliance from the simple life of Kya the “marsh girl”. Despite her simple surroundings and abusive upbringing she lives a life full of drama. This book exposes how from the ashes of ugliness can come a phoenix. The ending is unexpected, but final. I wish it wasn’t, because I would love to see “the next book”.

Delia Owns, the author does a beautiful job of weaving pictures and scenes where you can literally see what’s happening and want to scream with excitement, anger, and appreciation.

I recommend this novel.

About the Author:

Delia Owens in1949 is an American author and zoologist. Where the Crawdads Sing is her debut novel topped. Owens grew up in rural Georgia in the 1950s. She and her then-husband, Mark Owens, were students in biology at the University of Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Animal Behavior from the University of California in Davis. They moved to Africa in 1974, worked in North Luangwa National Park, and later in Mpika, Zambia in the early 1990s.

Slow Your Role: Mindfulness for Fast Times

Author: Greg Graber
Published by: Hawkeye Publishers
Publication Date: 2018
List Price: $12.00
Tagged: Self-Help, Meditation, Presentation

I am a sports fan. I am a Christian. I meditate. Those three worlds collide in Slow Your Role. This book explains how Greg Barber "mind coaches" athletes, coaches and business people to be mindful in times of stress or low-function. Additionally, it explains aspects of mediation, how to use them. It’s great for beginning meditators.
I really love that there are so many sports analogies. Plus I’m an LSU fan. Greg references many major sports figures and teams. As a lover of all things communication and in instructor of such, I know that analogies/stories help people to learn better. So, this book is chocked full of memorable wisdom.

Let’s face it, everyone needs a coach. And some people won’t seek an actual person to help them. This book should be labeled as a self-help book. When you get to the point that you just don’t know how to get yourself back on track, this book shares a whole lot of examples that can encourage you and many you can model.

Greg provides several mindfulness techniques. One that I use consistently for youth who I mentor all the way up to CEOs is Visspana. Before I got this book I didn’t even know that it had a title. Now I sound fancy when using such a label.

I highly recommend this book.

About the Author:

Greg Graber is a long-time educator who teaches mindfulness and meditation to sports teams, schools, and various organizations around the world. He has worked with top sports teams like the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, LSU, VCU, the University of Memphis, and Mount Saint Mary’s University. He’s been contracted by organizations like the Hilton Worldwide Hotels, Shamrock Foods, and the Virginia Department of Corrections.

What Every BODY Is Saying

Author: Joe Navarro
Published by: Harper-Collins
Publication Date: 2008
List Price: $19.99
Tagged: Self-help, Non-Verbal Communication, Body Language

I like to peek behind the curtains of other people’s lives and careers. I like to know how things work. I like story telling. I like learning. And, I LOVE nonverbal communications. What Every BODY is Saying allows the reader to learn how an FBI guy solved crimes by reading the nonverbal body language of people. At the same time, it demonstrates how the reader can use it in their everyday life, WITH PICTURES too!

Personally, I’ve been studying attributes of people all of my life, as far back as I can remember. I’ve been mimicking behaviors of those I admire or want to emulate. This book reveals how one can not only study others behaviors but influence with their own behaviors as well.

This book is one of my favorites to use in my nonverbal communications and emotional intelligence workshops. I encourage my attendees to get their own copy and put into practice some of the power positions addressed in the book. The revelations and accolades for What Every BODY is Saying is worth the purchase, and very entertaining

About the Author:

For 25 years, Joe Navarro worked as an FBI special agent in the area of counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. Today he is one of the world’s leading experts on nonverbal communications and lectures and consults with major corporations worldwide. He is an adjunct professor at Saint Leo University and frequently lectures at the Harvard Business School. Joe is the international best-selling author of What Every Body Is Saying which has been translated into 29 languages, and Louder Than Words, which The Wall Street Journal acclaimed as “One of the six best business books to read for your career in 2010.”