Review: The Cat Who Talked Turkey

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The Cat Who Talked TurkeyBook Review
3- out of 5 stars for The Cat Who Talked Turkey, the 26th book in the “Cat Who” cozy mystery series, written in 2004 by Lilian Jackson Braun. It sounded like a great book. Brrr is celebrating a huge milestone in its history, and I love that little town almost as much as Pickax. Pickax is getting a new bookstore — how fun! Combines books inside of books, that’s just a perfect read. And a dead body outside Qwill’s converted barn. It’s gotta be a great story. Oh…. it had potential, but given the series was just about coming to a conclusion, it wasn’t. Sad. I hate when things go downhill and not for a good reason. Too many different stories going on… felt more like a diary entry. It’s not horrible or I would have given it a 2, but it’s not too far off. You gotta read it when you’re this far into a series, right?

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Plum Lovin’

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Plum Lovin' Book Review
3 out of 5 stars to Plum Lovin’, an “in-between” novella in the “Stephanie Plum” cozy mystery series, written in 2007 by Janet Evanovich. There are 4 of these “in-between” cross-over novels, where Stephanie works with Diesel (from another one of Evanovich’s book series) to solve a case and/or fall in love — you can’t always tell for certain! In this one, the focus is around love and Valentine’s Day, as a matchmaker has gone missing after supposedly committing some crimes. Stephanie avoids falling for Diesel, ignoring Ranger and Morelli, and searches for some answers. It’s a cute mini-book that crosses the two series and hopefully brings new fans and/or a needed respite from the formula in either series. It’s fun and cute, little substance, but will make you laugh enough that it’s worth the read.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

365 Challenge: Day 82 – Assertive

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Assertive: having or showing a confident and forceful personality

assertive.jpg

 

I have a negative connotation of the word “assertive,” which has ultimately resulted in my discomfort around people who have overly assertive behaviors. When I think about why I feel this way, it’s probably centralized around experiences with those who have a more aggressive and domineering assertive personality, rather than confident and affirmative behaviors. But I’m also smart enough to acknowledge and support assertive behaviors when they are productive and positive. As always, I tend to break things down across two distinct areas of my life, since I’ve previously mentioned I seem to be two different people wrapped up in one body.

(Just being funny… only one of us sucks — the other one is awesome)

In my professional working environment and culture, I demonstrate a more assertive style than I do in my personal life. In my last position, I directly managed 9 people (Vice-Presidents, Directors and Managers) and approximately 100 people in total within my organization. While being assertive was important to being seen as a successful leader and executive, I certainly did not represent the norm when it comes to an assertive management style. And it was often a topic of discussion both with my staff and my own supervisor, who respected the ability I had in still accomplishing our goals without being a typical assertive leader — but also faulted me for not representing what (s)he thought was important to display for other executive management.

As a leader, my style is often relaxed, friendly and inclusive. Although I was the boss and had the corner office, I never felt comfortable acting and treating people as though there needed to be an arm’s length distance between us; my door was “always open” and I encouraged everyone to stop in to tell me how things were going, both professionally and personally. In meetings, I certainly “ran them” with a clear and focused agenda, kept everything on time, listened and made decisions, etc. — all with confidence and strong direction. But I was never the manager who would walk in, shut the door, get down to business, and then walk out after being sure I told everyone else what to do. That never felt like the right style for me. To me, that was a negative way to assert your leadership and management over people and projects.

When I think of negatively assertive behaviors, my experience was with managers who quickly shut down new ideas, said “no” without fully listening, or phrased their messages in either an accusatory or reckless way. (I’ve also had very positive managers, so no worries!). But as a result, I associate assertive with dominance, rudeness and indifference to people as humans with different personalities and comfort styles. I tend to dislike or feel uncomfortable around people with any sort of forceful personality — both in the business world and in my personal life.

At work, I tend to be driven and results-oriented. I need to be the leader and always take on new responsibilities. It’s such a huge piece of my personality. I’m sure a psychiatrist would suggest that I’m searching for approval and acceptance, as I must feel like I don’t have it in some other part of my life. Whatever the reason (not really all that important to me), I’m the complete opposite in my personal life. Outside of work, although I do take charge of “events” such as planning our annual holiday party or coordinating vacations, when it comes to every day things like choosing meals, decor, times to go out, et al… I would rather just go with the flow. I don’t want to take the lead, as it’s my opportunity to take a break, sitting back to let others run with things on their own accord.

For the same reasons, I also don’t like having forceful personalities in my friendships. When someone tends to be domineering or assertive in terms of pushing their own agenda, monopolizing conversations, arguing, or attempting to show why they are better or stronger at something, I immediately shut down, and to some degree, want to write off that person. I’ve abandoned many friendships or potential friendships for those reasons. And I’m totally OK with it! If I don’t like someone’s assertive personality, or they get too aggressive with me, I’m not going to enjoy being around them. When they assert themselves more than necessary, it’s a major turn-off. That said, I won’t throw away a solid friendship over an argument or slight change in behaviors. I’ll certainly make attempts to change how I think/feel or let him/her know what’s going on. But in the end, I want people in my life who are collaborative, open-minded, friendly and more able to let go of the unimportant things.

I know being assertive can be a positive thing, too, and I’m not discounting that side of this equation — just focusing on the negative aspects of it in this post. Another day will highlight the positive ones, when it comes to those with a “can-do” attitude. Due to how I feel about this type of negative assertiveness, I’ve heard a few interesting things when I make my position clear to others. Some say I lack passion. Others say I’m afraid to speak my mind. I’ve been accused of being weak-minded. My response: “OK, thanks for your input. Always glad to hear someone else’s opinion.” Then there’s some noise (usually me getting up, leaving and shutting the door) And I’m free!!!!!

True, that’s an exaggeration, but my point here is… we all have a comfort level when it comes to our own level of assertiveness and that of those around us. Assertive can be both positive and negative. In my world, if you are dominant, forceful or aggressive, I am inclined not to want to share much time in the same space as you. If you are flexible, open and accessible in your assertive behavior, we’ll get along quite well.

How about you? Do you have different levels of assertiveness at home or at work? With different friends? Do you like when others are assertive in a forceful way?

NOW!!!

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 81 – Adaptable

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Adaptable: able to adjust to new conditions or be modified for a new use or purpose

adaptable

I debated with myself this morning whether to select “adaptable” or “open-minded” as today’s 365 Daily Challenge characteristic. I tried to engage Ryder in a little discussion, but he chose to chase birds on the terrace. Screw him, I say! BTW, don’t you just adore Legos?

Obviously, I settled on “adaptable,” {Aside: No doubt, either I’m Captain Obvious today or I should send myself back to bed!} and will save “open-minded” for next week. When I think of the word “adaptable,” besides what you see in the above definitions {Further Aside: I feel like Henry James today; dude, just get on with the post}… I think of Charles Darwin and the “Origin of Species.” For anyone unfamiliar, it’s the theory of natural selection, i.e. those who can adapt will survive longer than those who cannot adapt (in simplest terms).

Come on… let’s all channel our inner Gloria Gaynor and belt it out: “At first I was afraid, I was petrified…” OK, that’s enough. I’m the most inappropriate person to try to sing these lyrics and don’t I know it! To be serious (the point of these posts), we all need to learn how to be adaptable… meaning able to try new things, give something an opportunity to prove whether it will or will not work, and to give ourselves a small area for growth and improvement.

While I strongly believe in being consistent, it is important to know when things must change and when you must look for new opportunities. And this is where adaptability becomes significantly important. Imagine if you always did the same thing everyday in the same manner. Or you never allowed yourself to try new things. Besides being boring, you wouldn’t fulfill one of the highest tenets of life: to learn and grow.

When I reflect on how I am adaptable, I consider understanding alternative options, thinking about something with a different pair of eyes or glasses (for those who have vision trouble like me), or recognizing a new approach to process through. A few examples bouncing around my mind:

  • I wasn’t much interested in using e-readers when they first came out. I loved paper and print. I was tired of reading computer screens and phones all day long. Who needed another device? But, since I rarely say no to something without giving it significant thought, I downloaded Kindle Reader on my iPad. I gave a book a chance. And I liked it. Now, I find it’s useful when I don’t want to carry both a computer/tablet/device and a book around with me. I still read physical books throughout the week, but the e-reader had a useful purpose for me, and I adapted to its user interface, occasionally finding it easier than a physical book.

  • When I first moved into the city, I disliked everyone being so close to me. I liked personal space. A yard to have boundaries. Space to invite people over to visit. Slowly, I found things about living in the middle of an urban center that made me quite happy. I didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving, therefore I could have 10 or 12 drinks each night and still… JUST KIDDING… I can have 2 drinks and not worry about being pulled over. Without a spare room, I had less uninvited company. I could get to any restaurant rather quickly without having to drive far. I had a shorter commute to work. I adapted to the situation and found ways to like both suburbia and the city.

  • I’ve adapted to people in ways I never thought possible. I used to be quite judgmental, and to some degree, I still can be. Through the years, I realized it gets you nowhere quickly. If all you do is find something wrong with someone or something, you’ve set yourself up to always have a disappointment. Instead, I try to focus on a reason why I like someone or something, especially if it has to be part of my life for whatever time period. There are people I work with whom I don’t like. There are friends of friends I end up socializing with when I’d probably prefer having my toenails ripped off than be near them for any length of time. But that’s life, dude / chick (whatever you want to be called — my attempt at humor today)… so figure out how to adapt to the situation because it will happen again in some way, shape or form. So when I’m around them, I don’t let it consume me.

Being adaptable means you have the power.  And that’s what you need to retain no matter what. I don’t mean power as in control over other people — I mean control over yourself. If you can adapt to the situation at hand, then you can survive it. And if you can survive it, then you have a chance to keep on moving forward. I guess what I’m essentially saying… as I prepare to close out this post… is…

Conquer those feelings that keep you from being adaptable, and you’ll be more successful than you thought possible. When you have choices… when you let yourself try or consider new things… and when you move with fluidity rather than the staunch and robotic “no, I won’t… ____ <<fill in the blank>> ____ … do that!” you’re holding yourself back.

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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A Midsummer Night's Dream Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy written in 1595 by William Shakespeare. What a fun read! I first read this in high school and then again in college as part of a course on Shakespeare. Then I watched a few movie versions. It’s full of so much humor and creativity. The plot is essentially the impacts of magic, as some fairy dust causes everyone to fall in love with the first person they see — once the dust falls on them. Imagine the hilarity that ensues in a chain reaction of who loves who. If you want to read a comedy, this would be one of the top 3. It’s got lovable characters, lots of understandable metaphors and a ton of memorable and enjoyable scenes.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: The Last Precinct

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The Last Precinct Book Review
4 out of 5 stars to The Last Precinct, the 11th book in the “Kay Scarpetta” mystery thriller series, written in 2000 by Patricia Cornwell. I really enjoyed this book as the complexity and the psychology of the killer was top-notch. Each chapter builds on the last, and in some ways, these books keep revisiting decisions and clues from previous book… so it gets quite explosive and intense. In this one, Scarpetta needs a break from the last case where she was battered and bruised. But when she relies on a friend to help, she learns the friend is part of a trial against Scarpetta, forced into it due to circumstances pointing to Scarpetta possibly going rogue. Jamie Berger, the DA gets more involved, and we start this love/hate relationship with all the characters. This is definitely not a stand-alone book to read, you need to have read the rest of the series. It has a lot of great plot twists and characters, but it also takes a lot of energy out of you to pay attention and believe what’s happening. I still liked it and was glad to see the growth in this one… tho it started to go down hill again afterwards in future books. If you enjoy the series, you will love this book. If not, don’t pick it up here!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: K is for Killer

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K is for Killer Book Review
3.5 out of 5 stars to K is for Killer, the 11th book in the “Kinsey Millhone” mystery series, written in 1994 by Sue Grafton. In this one, Kinsey’s life is relatively calm, which she is enjoying… until someone shows up begging for help in solving the death of her daughter. Kinsey doesn’t think she can do much, given the police haven’t found anything in the months-old trail. But the woman is convincing and Kinsey needs the money. Unfortunately, the case turns out to be brutal — and the dead girl had a very tumultuous crop of friends and acquaintances, all who have a different take on the death. And some of them don’t believe it was murder. Kinsey knows they’re hiding something and takes off on her usual path to solve another crazy case. I enjoyed the book, however it wasn’t one of the better ones. It’s smack in the middle of the series, slightly above average in the mystery world for 1990s fiction. The series took a minor slump with this book, not because it was bad, but because it just wasn’t as powerful as the rest. Still a definite read and no reason to abandon the entire series.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews