Living Well Spending Less Book Review

Synopsis:Living Well Spending Less by Ruth Soukup

Title – Living Well Spending Less: 12 secrets to the good life  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Ruth Soukup (Website, Goodreads)

Published – December 30th 2014

Classification – Fiction

Summary – Ruth Soukup, a popular blogger of, published Living Well Spending Less to give her followers even more to be excited about! As Ruth puts it: “Through a combination of personal stories and practical action plans, this book will empower, enable, and inspire you to make real and lasting changes to your personal goals, finances, and homes in order to create the life you’ve always wanted—the Good Life”.


Thoughts: I was super stoked to FINALLY have this book in my hands after weeks of being on hold at the library. Ruth Soukup is one of my favorite bloggers and I’ve been following her for a while now. She has inspired so many people already and is helping others live the life they want – whether it is to get out of debt, cut down on grocery costs, keeping the house decluttered, or creating a successful blog. I follow her on a few social channels, as well as subscribe to her email where I first heard of her book.

She runs sales and promotions on her products, but I was happy to see that my local library carried the book so I could get my hands on it right away, rather than waiting until I decided it was okay to spend money on a book. I was only a few chapters in and I already knew that this book needed to be on my bookshelf permanently.

“The Good Life to me is this: a life rich in faith, family, friends, and creativity…It may not be always easy or comfortable. But it is always full in abundance and completely secure in Christ.”

I LOVE this!

The pictures below are just a few of the pages that I wanted to highlight:

As you can see, she covers topics such as goal setting, prioritizing your life, decluttering your possessions, how to find coupons, etc.

She writes in a conversational tone and shares her story of how she got where she is now and why she does what she does.Living Well Spending Less instagram post

While reading the other reviews on Goodreads, I think it is important to note that she does include bible verses and her faith within the book. Many people were turned off by this fact, but I thought it enhanced her writing. It is a big part of who she is and why she does what she does…so why should she omit it?

Have you read any of Ruth Soukup’s books? What are some things you pulled from your reading?

Conclusion: Highly recommend!



The Slight Edge Book Review

Synopsis:The Slight Edge

Title -The Slight Edge  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Jeff Olson (Website, Goodreads)

Published – September 15th 2014 (the 8th anniversary edition)

Classification – Non-fiction, Self-help

Summary – The Slight Edge is a self-help book about doing little daily activities to reach your goal. This 8th anniversary edition of The Slight Edge includes mini testimonies about the slight edge in use.



The Slight Edge is another staple book for your personal development library. Personally, I think this book is very similar to Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect.  I feel The Slight Edge contents and themes builds upon the foundation from The Compound Effect. If you’re looking for an easier read or a “simpler” book, I’d recommend The Compound Effect…then grab this book.


“People also searched for” section in Google listings

Two big things I pulled out of this book are:

  • NEVER QUIT DREAMING. THE REASON THINGS MAY BE UNCOMFORTABLE IS BECAUSE I HAVE A GOAL – There is a “wanting” gap between “where I am” and “where I could be.” The gap and difference between these two places makes people uncomfortable. Most people see this difference as negative problem and want it to go away, rather than take steps towards the latter. To get rid of this tension, most just quit dreaming. (ch. 10, pg 165-166)
  • YOU CANNOT DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING WHEN REACHING A GOAL – “Remember, there aren’t many millionaires who bowl over 100. Why not? Because they left the bowling league behind to build their fortunes. ‘Is that too large of a price to pay?’ is a question only you can answer. Remember this: whatever price you pay, there’s a bigger price to pay for not doing it than the price for it….It may take five years and 10,000 hours to put your success on track, but it takes a lifetime to fail.”(ch. 15, pg 228)

I think it is important to note that these are some things I pulled out of the book during my first read-through. I will pull out different things next time I open the book because I will have personally grown since. Most likely, I will pull this book off my shelf next year to brush up my slight edge.

What are some things you taken away from reading this book? If you haven’t read it yet, will you?

Conclusion: As mentioned, The Slight Edge is another staple book for your personal development library.

The 5 Love Languages Book Review

Synopsis:The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Title – The 5 Love Languages  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Gary Chapman (Website, Goodreads)

Published – First published January 1st, 1990

Classification – Non-Fiction

Summary – Not all people and relationships are the same. As Dr. Gary Chapman’s first book, The 5 Love Languages outlines five ways to express and experience love, which includes Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Acts of Service, Gifts, and Physical Touch.

The 5 Love Languages was a New York Times Bestseller and has sold over 4 million copies worldwide.


Thoughts: I personally believe this book should be read by EVERYONE.

If you are single….read this book.

If you are dating…read this book.

If you are engaged…read this book.

If you are married…read this book.

If you recently broke up…you get the point.

All I’m trying to say is this book can be useful no matter what your relationship status is. Understanding each one of the five love languages gives you deeper understanding of what you and others need to feel loved.

Do you feel more loved when you and your partner go for a bike ride, hike, or picnic? Do you feel more loved when your partner holds your hand while walking into the grocery store? Do you feel more loved when they compliment you on the meal you just made or thank you for doing the wash?

Having your “love tank” full allows you to blossom. If both partners are not filling each other’s love tank, that is when the relationship starts heading south. Additionally, it doesn’t matter if one person’s love language is Quality Time and the other person’s love language is Words of Affirmation. What matters is understanding what your partner’s love language is and filling their love tank. And understanding your own love language and learning how to express it to your partner greatly enhances the relationship.

Do you need to read this book to have a thriving relationship? Absolutely not. But it doesn’t hurt either!


I read The 5 Love Languages under recommendation, and gained knowledge and understanding of my own love language. I also tried to take an educated guess on my partner’s love language. I encouraged my fiance to read the book. However this didn’t happen until about a year later when I picked up The 5 Love Languages audio book for him to listen in the car.

We’ve been together for over 6 years at this point and engaged to be married. We both agreed we had a very happy relationship. We obviously know a lot about each other by then; we know what makes each other tick and what makes each other smile. Later, when chatting about The 5 Love Languages, we confirmed what each of our love language is and had a good conversation about what actions fills our love tank.

If you’ve read and loved the book, you can head to for even more tools by Gary Chapman. He also has many other books, including 5 Love Languages of Teenagers, Rise Above A Toxic Workplace, 5 Love Languages Military Edition, and many, many more.

Conclusion: No matter your current relationship status or the amount of happiness you have about your relationship, this book is what you need!

Troublemaker Book Review

Synopsis:Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini

Title – Troublemaker  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Leah Remini (Website, Goodreads)

Published – November 3rd 2015

Classification – Non Fiction

Summary – Leah Remini writes a memoir of her life: from childhood, climbing the levels of Scientology, acting in The King of Queens, and much more..



I will be the first to admit I knew nothing about Scientology. I had no idea it was a religion. I picked up this book because Leah Remini wrote it, and by now everybody should know by now how big of a fan I am for reading books written by celebrities.

I consider myself to have a pretty open mind and curiosity for learning new things. I like learning about the way people live.

Thoughts after reading the book: WOW, wow, and wow. Mind awed and mouth open.

This book follows Leah’s life from childhood, through joining the Scientology church, becoming a Sea Org member, going to many casting calls, starting a family with Angelo, acting on The King of Queens, going to Tom Cruise‘s wedding, and quitting Scientology.

Leah really opens up about struggling through the acting business. She was always working really hard because she needed to pay rent for her family. It was hard to rely on income from acting because shows kept getting canceled after doing a few episodes. I love reading about her experience meeting with Jennifer Aniston and trying out for Friends (one of my all-time favorite shows!).  When Leah finally landed the role on King of Queens, it was absolutely touching the way she spoke about Kevin and the crew because they had her back.

Obviously, Leah also opened up about things she had to do for Scientology as well. I won’t reveal too much about this topic because I hope that people pick up the book, but basically Scientologists are told that their mission is to “clear the planet” (I’m still not sure what that means exactly). Her mother’s boyfriend introduced them to the church, where they worked and took classes to get to higher levels. Scientology is the answer and can make a person realize their full potential for greatness. Those who leave the church are considered “Suppressive Persons” and are told to disconnect people in the church. Again, I won’t go into too much detail because I like how Leah explained things.


Taking into consideration this is her view of her situation, and there is two sides to every story, I’d say she was pretty fair about things. Naturally, Leah has an abrasive side which gets her into trouble. She admits to some of her faults which I can appreciate. Obviously Leah is not afraid to speak her mind, but bringing to light and questioning some things that she encountered within the church is a very courageous thing for her to do.

The reviewers over at agree with me that it is a good book.

Conclusion: Highly recommend.

What do you think?

Strong is the New Sexy Book Review

Synopsis:Strong is the New Sexy by Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi

Title – Strong is the New Sexy  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi (Website, Goodreads)

Published – October 13th 2015

Classification – Non Fiction

Summary – During “Snooki”‘s run on the Jersey Shore, anybody could tell she wasn’t taking good care of her body. From the time the show ended ’til now, she has gone through many changes including becoming a fit wife and a mom. In this book, Nicole dishes how she became strong, inside and out. 





If you have never heard of “Snooki”, you have been living under a rock between 2009 and 2012.  She was one of the stars on the MTV Show, Jersey Shore. I personally wasn’t a huge fan of the show but there was almost no way to avoid it when turning on the TV, talking to friends, or consuming any type of media. 


For those who did not keep up with the characters after the show, “Snooki” is definitely not the same girl she was in 2012 (which is exactly why I like her).  

Nicole "Snooki", then vs now

Here is Nicole 2010 vs 2015.

Nicole has changed drastically from the inside and the outside. Since the last episode, she has given birth to a son, got married to Jionni LaValle, competed on Dancing with the Stars, starred in a Jersey Shore Spin-off Snooki & Jwoww, had a daughter, made a guest appearance in an episode of Supernatural, started a podcast with Joey Camasta called Naturally Nicole, and got physically fit.


And if that isn’t enough, she wrote a book.


Strong is the New Sexy is the 5th book Nicole has published. I have not read her first 3 books, but I did read Baby Bumps and thoroughly enjoyed it. So when I found out she was writing another book, it went straight on my reading list.


Why do I love her books so much? She is hilarious! Her writing is funny and reflects who she really is: down-to-earth, goofy, and original.


She is also big into crafts and bargain shopping – making herself relatable to me.

In Strong is the New Sexy, Nicole talks about her and her husband’s wedding night, their relationship, and their two kids. She also reflections on her childhood and some experiences she has with bullies.  And, of course, how she became a fit mama!


I applaud Nicole on how she is living her life now. While some things she had done in the media is questionable, her personal life is very relatable.


Conclusion: For a good laugh and a glimpse into Nicole’s adult life, this book is perfect.


If you had read the book, let me know what you thought in the comment section. What are some of your favorite quotes from the book?

Home Book Review

Synopsis:Home 1

Title – Home (Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Ellen DeGeneres (Website, Goodreads)

Published – October 27th 2015

Classification – Non-Fiction

Summary – If Ellen did not make it big with her career in comedy, she would be an interior designer. This BIG book is filled with big beautiful pictures of rooms in Ellen and Portia’s many homes.




In natural Kristine fashion, when I find out a famous person wrote a book I immediately put it on hold at my library. For example,immediately after I found out Lauren Graham wrote Somebody, Someday, Maybe, I read it that next week. I did the same with Nicole “Snooki” LaValle’s and Wendy Williams’ books.


So, when I found out Ellen DeGeneres wrote a book, I HAD to pick it up. Turns out, she wrote a handful of books but Home is the latest one published.


How did I find out she wrote a book? I follow her on Facebook and she posts various of clips of her show. The clip below is the one I saw, featuring Ellen talking to Nick Jonas about him living in one of her homes.



Home is page after page of big (literally…it’s a big book), beautiful, glossy pictures of rooms that Ellen designed. She revealed that she always wanted to be an interior designer, and probably would if she didn’t make it big with her comedy. Growing up, her family took her to many open houses and she loved that each home had its own character. With financial success, she was able to buy many homes and unlock her interior design passion.


literally…it’s a big book


Within the book she leaves tips on how she designed the room, which always includes one humorous tip (did you expect anything else from Ellen?).

Home 3

Home fulfilled my curiosity of catching some glimpse in Ellen’s life. That is the main reason I pick up books written by celebrities: to learn bits and pieces of their lives that is not always highly broadcasted.


I have to admit, while the rooms look beautiful, I couldn’t imagine living in any one of them. It would be super cool to visit but I guess I don’t have the same taste as Ellen.


But what do I know about home design? I’m not an interior designer nor do I strive to be one. My taste in living space is a room with pictures of loved ones on the wall, throw blankets on the couch, and stacks of books on the floor. I’m sure that for an actual interior designer, the pictures are provoking and influential.


For articles on Ellen’s designs, check out and Check out and for some pictures featured in the book.

It took me a total of 20 minutes to flip through these wonderful pictures of Ellen’s decorating and I’m glad I did. I hope to pick up another one of Ellen’s previously published books in the near future. If anybody has read one of her books, let me know in the comments section!


Conclusion: Somebody who loves interior design would find this book very interesting. I read it for a glimpse into Ellen’s life.

The Compound Effect Book Review

Synopsis:The Compound Effect

Title – The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success  (Website, Goodreads, Amazon, BarnsAndNoble)

Author – Darren Hardy (Website, Goodreads)

Published – January 1st 2010

Classification – Non-Fiction

Summary – The Compound Effect is “the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices.” Modest choices or habits will greatly change anything. Everybody knows you can’t buy success; hard work, discipline, and consistent patterns can.

From the publisher of SUCCESS magazine comes a New York Times bestseller.



Let me skip right to the point: this book is AMAZING. I haven’t read any other book that is better for someone who is trying to kick a bad habit, start a new habit, or change their life in any way. This book can be the game changer. I recommend picking it up if you’re just at the beginning of making a change or if you want extra motivation while trying to reach a goal.


Ok, before I get too gung ho about change, I’ll recognize not everybody loves change. Right away on page 13, Darren Hardy talks about three friends who each choose to make a small change in their life. One makes no change. One starts to read 10 minutes a day and implements something he read: to cut 125 calories from his diet every day. The last friend buys a new TV and drinks one alcoholic drink per week. After 25 months, one is exactly where they were two years ago, one is 33.5 lbs lighter and earned a promotion, and one is 33.5 lbs heavier and lacks energy.


The Compound Effect


Ten minutes a day and 125 less calories isn’t a colossal change to make, but the ripple effect was huge. Another example was Beverly, who wishes she could run a marathon. Finding her “why” and walking a one-mile loop around her house led to loosing more than forty pounds and running full marathons. It also gave her raised self esteem, renewed energy, and heightened sales at work, as well as “healthier” friends and a better relationship with her husband…all from starting to walk a one mile loop.

The Compound Effect

Look what a 1% change in a flight course could land you.


Hardy starts by recommending to track at least one behavior in the area of your life you’d like to change or improve. He then gives some “game changer” strategies, in which you start to gain momentum. He finishes off the book with acceleration to multiply your results.


For some extra reading, here is an interview with Darren Hardy about many of the topics covered in the book and here are some great quotes from the book.



My favorite part of The Compound Effect is under the subtitle “Thanksgiving Year Round” on page 26. If you’ve read this book (or after you finish), let me know your favorite part of the book in the comments below.

The Compound Effect 4

It was late December when I read this book and I couldn’t have picked up a better time of the year. It put me into the best mindset for ringing in the new year. You can bet that you will find me next December re-reading The Compound Effect. Who is with me?


Conclusion: This is a great book is highly recommended by me.


What do you think? Have you read the book and made any great improvements in your life? Let me know in the comments below!

The Magic of Thinking Big Book Review


Title – The Magic of Thinking Big The Magic of Thinking Big(GoodreadsAmazonBarnsAndNoble)

Author – David J. Schwartz (Goodreads)

Published – April 2nd 1987

Classification –Non-fiction

Summary – The Magic of Thinking Big is your classic success book, a phenomenal best-seller, and a good read. First published in 1959, this self-help book tells the reader to improve their life by changing their thoughts.


Thoughts: ***warning: spoilers!***

David J. Schwartz is a professor, motivator, consultor in leadership development, and of course, author. This book often is found high on success and achievement book lists

Many might scoff at the title, but this might just have a big impact on your life. Right away, Schwartz addresses the non-believers who are thinking “It’s nonsense to think you can make a mountain move away by just saying ‘Mountain, move away’.” He says, “People who think this way have belief confused with wishful thinking…But you can move a mountain with belief…The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.”

Within this book, you’ll learn about things like:

  • the power of belief
  • overcoming “excusitis”
  • see what can be, not just what is
  • overcoming your fears
  • adding value to things, people, and to yourself
  • turn on your creative power
  • going first class in everything you do
  • get into the action habit
  • overcome defeat
  • make attitudes your allies
  • and of course, how to think big

Magic of Thinking Big 3

These are success principles you most likely won’t learn in school or your job. Schwartz writes a book for people in all situations – school, work, personal problems. It all revolves around the fact that you have to, for lack of better words, think big. Each section is easy to apply and simple to understand. It’s straightforward but not bogged down by vocab or “here is your success trifecta” bogus.

The biggest take-away from my first time reading this book is that “action overcomes fear.” You can think about and ponder things all day and worry yourself sick, but once you are making the motions you feel a lot better. I can worry about how the heck I am going to get a big assignment done but once I get into action mode I feel accomplished. I can worry about a big presentation coming up but now I know that once I get up in front of everybody, it will be over before I know it.

The Magic of Thinking Big

Here is a dare for you: pick up the book, open it up to any page, point to a random sentence, and read the paragraph. Use this to see if The Magic of Thinking Big is worth the read. I can almost guarantee that you will pick up a small nugget of knowledge with that small paragraph. If that is possible, imagine what the whole book would do.

Overall, this book helped me and I often will pick it up to read small sections at a time. I think it can be of great help to others as it has been to me.

Once you finish, Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and John C. Maxwell’s How Successful People Think are great compliments to this book.

Conclusion: The Magic of Thinking Big should be at the top of your reading list.

Have you read The Magic of Thinking Big? How has it impacted your life? What advice can you give to hesitant readers?

365 Thank Yous Book Review

Synopsis: 365 Thank You's cover image

Title – 365 Thank Yous (GoodreadsAmazonBarnsAndNoble)

Author – John Kralik (Website)

Classification –Non-Fiction

Summary – In December, John finds himself at an all-time low in his life with no hope in sight; his law business is losing money, his son and daughter are drifting away, and his girlfriend broke up with him, just to name a few. It was at this time he got the idea to, instead of focusing on what is wrong, focus on being grateful for what is going right. This memoir is a touching story of what happened when he made a goal to send 365 thank-you notes that year.


Thoughts: ***warning: spoilers!**

There is no shortage of self-help books that talk about ways to “turn your life around” or try to provide the reader with motivation. I actually picked this book up while browsing the library’s 100’s section (in the Dewey Decimal System, that is the philosophy and psychology section). I was wary because I didn’t know the author, but Kralik has a good voice and a good story.

I know that giving gratitude in your life will come back to you ten-fold, and of course studies definitely prove that there are many benefits, but I was thrilled how well this book served as an example of a way gratitude can make a big difference.

gratitude changes everything

I admired how he disclosed personal information about the struggle he was going through and the people who were close to him. He did a fine job of writing these real-life people onto paper.

Of course, after reading it you’re inspired to take on the challenge he did. I was no exception. But no, I did not write 365 thank you notes. I did write 3 notes since I finished this book that I would have otherwise not: one to our vet who helped us through the tough day of putting our 17 year old cat to sleep, one to a good friend of mine who brightens my day and one to a research librarian at my school who helped me find good sources. I hope to write more in the very near future.

365 Thank You's readingI obviously need more practice giving gratitude because one thing I didn’t think of was writing a letter to John Kralik himself, like many others did. Plus, expressing your thanks to others isn’t so bad when you know how to write a thank you note (Kralik
provides many of his personal thank yous he wrote, or check out this awesome website on how to say thank you in writing). 
It really is simple to be grateful every day.365 Thank You's note example

When you look up from the book, it’s like looking at the world through a different lens.

Conclusion: Must-read for anybody who has a pulse.
What do you think?