How to Bring Music Education into Your Home as a Parent

How to Bring Music Education into Your Home as a Parent

Music education is important for so many different reasons. Children who take music lessons, or who participate in any form of music education, have better memory patterns than those children who receive no music education. Music is a universal language, and children from any part of the world can hear the same music and be moved by it in the same way. Music education helps children with their language and reasoning skills, gives them a sense of accomplishment, and helps improve math and spatial skills.

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Women in Music: An Inside Look at Sexism and Success

Women in Music: An Inside Look at Sexism and Success

A lot of people assume being a woman or mother in the music industry is a weakness, but I see it as a strength. When I first got in the business, I realized I just put my head down and worked hard to prove myself and make relationships. Once I did, I wasn’t focused on what I wasn’t getting because of my gender, but what I could accomplish because of it and the advantages it brought me.

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An Unusually Honest Facebook Share

An Unusually Honest Facebook Share

In late March, Holl and Lane Magazine Editor, Sarah Hartley, took to her Facebook group and asked her followers if they had anything to “get off their chest.” She offered a “safe place” to say things people had “been holding in.” Sarah, herself, started off by bravely posting about a personal struggle. After this, it was as if the floodgates opened. Sarah had given her largely female followers space to finally be honest about their lives, their troubles, their imperfections. All of this on Facebook, home of overly-perfect child pictures, and vacation albums where absolutely nothing goes wrong.

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Watch This: Summer Lovin' Movies

Words by Erica Musyt

With summer just around the corner I wanted to share some of my favorite summer-themed movies!

• THE SANDLOT

Scottie Smalls is the new kid in town. He makes friends with some neighborhood kids that play baseball. Together they spend the summer going on adventures, but trouble comes knocking when they hit a baseball over the fence into a grumpy man’s yard.

• DIRTY DANCING

Baby is spending her last ‘youthful’ summer with her family at a quiet resort in the Catskills before heading off to the Peace Corps. Her summer turns around when the resort’s dance instructor enlists Baby to be his new dance partner and the two fall in love along the way.

• STAND BY ME

Four Oregon friends hear about a stranger that has been accidentally killed near their home and they set out to find the body. Along the journey Gordie, Vern, Chris and Teddy encounter a mean junk man and a lake full of leeches.

• SUPER 8

It’s 1979 and a supernatural presence has been released in a small town during summer break after a train collision. Joe, an aspiring filmmaker, decides to make a zombie movie at the train station and captures the collision on his Super 8 camera. Along with his friends, Joe goes on an adventure in search of the reason for the train collision.

• LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE

A dysfunctional family embarks on a road trip to California so their daughter can compete in the Little Miss Sunshine Contest. All piled together in a VW bus, everyone’s sanity is stretched to the limit as the family proceeds on.

On Our Bookshelf

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Holl & Lane Magazine // On Our Bookshelf

Words by Sara Strauss Image by Genesis Geiger

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

She digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering.

Reading about creativity and how to be creative is an interesting thing. It's immensely helpful if what the author is saying speaks to you, but if it doesn't then you're just reading about stuff you know about or don't care about. I liked parts of this book; some stories about her books, stories about meeting well-known authors, the part about ideas being alive, like fairies; but the encouraging parts where she tells you to be creative fell flat for me. This book didn't speak to me like I was hoping it would. Most of it was about stuff I've heard a million times already.

If you like self-help books then this book is for you.

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She and her father travel the world aboard a glorious pirate ship. Old maps allow Nix to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times. Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence in danger.

If ever a book is going to be a fun adventure ride it's a book about a time traveling pirate ship! I sped through this book so quickly because of the diverse cast of likable characters, the cool concept of Navigating, and the intriguing what-will-happen-to-Nix-if-her-father-goes-back-in-time-to-before-she-was-born plot. Nix and Kashmir's friendship is wonderful and their witty remarks had me smiling the whole time. I like that they have a very strong almost-romance friendship that carries the book. Kashmir is just a super suave and very likable guy. I liked Nix a lot because she's intelligent, quick-thinking, hot-tempered, and believable for a teen who's only ever lived aboard a ship. I had some issues with Slate, Nix's father, at first, but he grew to become an interesting person. And I liked that here was a tiny dragon, but he wasn't even useful! What's the point of having a tiny dragon if he isn't even useful?! But most importantly I LOVED that the ship could travel to real and imaginary places! If there's map of a place, it can go there (mostly), which I thought was the coolest thing!

If you like YA fantasy and historical fantasy then this book is for you.

Watch This: Oscar Winning Movies

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Words by Erica Musyt

It’s Movie Time! With the Oscars freshly behind us I thought that I would bring to you some Oscar Winning movies that you can catch on Netflix right now!

Good Will Hunting

Will Hunting is a mathematical genius, but chooses to work as a janitor at M.I.T. With the help from therapist Sean Maguire, Will is able to find his direction in life. In 1998 Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay along with cast member Robin Williams for Best Supporting Actor.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

When famous toon, Roger Rabbit, is accused of murder his only hope in finding the real killer is a toon-hating detective. In 1989 this wild animated picture won the Oscar for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects and Best Visual Effects.

Rain Man

When Charlie discovers that his estranged father left a $3 million fortune to the institution that his autistic brother Raymond resides in, Charlie returns home motivated only by money. After checking Raymond out of the institution, Charlie takes him back to Los Angeles. Their cross-country trips changes both their lives in ways they could never have imagined. In 1989 this inspirational film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Shakespeare In Love

Set in the late sixteenth century, a young William Shakespeare is out of money and out of ideas. He unexpectedly meets his muse and is inspired to write one of the greatest love stories ever told. In 1999 this romantic comedy won six Oscars - Best Picture, Best Actress (Gwyneth Paltrow), Best Supporting Actress (Dame Judi Dench), Best Costume Design, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Production Design.

The English Patient

Near the end of World War II, a badly burned plane crash victim is tended to by a nurse in an Italian monastery. Through a series of flashbacks, the man’s past is revealed involving a fatal love affair. In 1997 this sweeping love story won the Oscars for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche), Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design.

Listen Up : Sugar Rush

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Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do? My name is Lauren Rearick, and I am the founder/editor/event planner and self appointed blog queen of The Grey Estates. It's a Pittsburgh-based music blog that's meant to highlight only the things we love, with special attention to female and gender-neutral acts. It's a platform of music criticism and features that isn't about hits, clicks or traffics, but about what we love and why.

You are launching an exciting new project - tell us more about that! What inspired it? I'm partnering with Negative Fun Records to release Sugar Rush - a tape compilation release of bands doing cover songs. Each of the bands featured contain female-members or gender-neutral members. Last year, two of my friends recorded a cover of Patsy Cline's "Strange," which is on the tape, and mentioned in passing how amazing it would be to curate a compilation of female bands doing cover songs. I've always dreamed of curating a physical compilation release and I couldn't have imagined a cooler project to start my dream with.

You mentioned to us that despite the disbelief from male friends and colleagues, you wanted to go ahead with this exciting new venture. Tell us a bit more about your past experience, getting you to this point. I can still remember in college and in high school that whenever we talked about what we wanted to be when "we grew up," that I was always met with hesitation or doubt that I would make it as a music writer. By no means have I made it to the point that I hope for my career, but I always let that disbelief and doubt propel me to the point I am now. Before starting The Grey Estates I wrote for a number of publications and I realized my voice wasn't reflected in the things I wrote, and I didn't enjoy the way I was treated. One day in 2013 it suddenly hit me that I could just start my own blog, and I shouldn't let disbelief or fear or the support of others stand in my way. There's still so much I hope to accomplish, but I think just waking up everyday and seeing the site, and reading the comments and supports from bands and readers reminds me that I'm making an impact, even a small one.

The name of your blog, Grey Estates is so interesting -- how did you come up with the name? It's a song from one of my favorite bands ever - Wolf Parade. They're one of the few bands that have stuck with me throughout my life, and their music has always been a source of inspiration for me.

And now, the loaded question, favorite artist/band/group of all time? Radiohead. No doubt about it.

Sugar Rush will be available on February 29th.  Check out The Grey Estates for more details.

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On Our Bookshelf

pexels-photo-large The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see and who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

I listened to the audiobook of The 5th Wave and loved it. The two voice actors are fantastic, so I would recommend giving this a listen. The book itself was realistic (for an alien invasion), horrifying, and hopeful. It kept me on my toes. I was a little disappointed that for most of the book Cassie was hiding out in a house, but despite that all of the character's stories were exciting and intriguing. I'm sure you've seen that there's a movie version, but I would 100% recommend reading the book first.

If you like aliens, then you'll love The 5th Wave.

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman, a professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is convinced that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project.

An intelligent man with OCD. A fiery and witty woman who doesn't follow rules. You would never think these two would ever be a match, but it's wonderful reading these two people bicker and flirt and wonder if Don will get his act together. I listened to this while in the car and it made my commute a much more enjoyable experience. It's romantic and funny and charming and just puts a smile on your face.

If you like romance and quirky people, you'll love The Rosie Project.

 

 

Watch This: Family Films

photo-1432139523732-e9d8af332501I am the definition of a kid at heart, especially when it comes to movies. That being said, I thought that I would bring to you some Family Films that you can catch on Netflix right now.

Home There hasn’t been an adorable little alien since Lilo & Stitch came about in 2002. Let me introduce you to Oh. Oh is on the run as a fugitive alien when his kind, Boov, have conquered Earth. Oh meets a little girl named Tip who has been separated from her mother. Together they set out on the journey to find Tip’s mother and wind up becoming friends along the way.

Hook The two children of Peter Banning, a middle-aged lawyer and father, have been kidnapped by is archrival Captain Hook! Peter is forced to return to his magical beginnings as Peter Pan and revisit a the life that he left behind in Neverland to grow up. With the help from Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys, Peter must remember how to be a kid again in order to save his children.

Daddy Day Care Charlie’s wife Kim goes back to work to be the breadwinner after Charlie is fired from his advertising job. While at home taking care of his son, Charlie recruits fellow fired coworker, Phil, to open a day care center. As their day care becomes more and more successful they find themselves the in competition with the prep school that is not quite fond of them!

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Winnie the Pooh along with his friends, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, Rabbit and Tigger, live in the Hundred Acre Wood and together they go on adventures. Whether it’s fighting off a swarm of bees over their honey, a terrible wind storm, or the bounciness of Tigger they always find the fun in it!

Walt Disney Animated Studios Short Film Collection This new collection of Pixar shorts is great for the whole family. Join Elsa, Anna, and Olaf on a new adventure in Forever Frozen. Learn how to set up your home theater with Goofy. There are also classic stories retold such as The Little Match Girl and so much more.

Grab your bowl of popcorn and snuggle up on the couch with your friends and family! Enjoy!

 

H&L Team Instagram Favorites

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The H&L Team loves a good photo so it's no surprise that we love Instagram (follow us @hollandlanemag).  Find a few favorites accounts of our team below.

Sarah's Favorites

Left to right: @seldabelda // @will_journey // @homeiswherethehartis

Being a mom myself, I'm always interested in how other mom's capture their families so I follow quite a few Mom accounts.  I'm especially drawn to crisp, moody photos that tell a quick story.  I also have a serious case of wanderlust and love to follow accounts that indulge me a bit.

Follow Sarah - @sarahmhartley

Kimiko's Favorites

Left to right: @lolypopp3 // @newdarlings // @lichipan

All of these accounts have really beautiful images, often of home life or food and feel super cozy and inviting. I love IGs that are warm, interesting... And those that usually involve a baked good or two.

Follow Kimiko - @kimiko.mainprize

Mia's Favorites

Left to right: @liagriffith // @graymalin // @decorgold

I love looking at the beautiful photos these 3 accounts post. I use photos a lot for inspiration with writing blog posts and and short stories. You never know when an image will spark your creativity in just the right way.

Follow Mia - @mia_sutton_blog

Jess's Favorites

Left to right: @britandco // @hellofarmhouse // @endlessweekend

The last two are because of all of the amazing home things they post. It gives me so much inspiration especially since we just bought our first house. The first one just makes me feel happy warm fuzzies.

Follow Jess - @chaoticcollectd

Megan's Favorites

Left to right: @thestyleograph // @chairishco // @nasa

I love the first two for interior design and fashion styling inspiration.  NASA posts mind-blowing imagines!  It's awesome to see small pieces of our giant universe.

Follow Megan - @zyla2decker

Stephanie's Favorites

Left to right: @damselindior // @parisinfourmonths // @laurenelizhook

The first account has such a clean, consistent aesthetic. I love her posts, she has an ease to them and they all just flow so nicely! She really tells stories with her images. The second account is just so dreamy with how she captures her travels. The third account- her creativity and branding inspiration is really cool to follow!

Follow Stephanie - @stephbarchetti

On Our Bookshelf

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A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Everyone who sees or interacts with them believes that Gabe and Lea should be together because they're in the same creative writing class and like all the same things, but Lea is shy and Gabe has issues. It looks like they're never going to get together, but something is happening between them.

This book is the definition of cute! It's not your typical romance and that's what I loved about it. It's romance for reserved introverts like me. What I loved about this story is the fact that the whole book is told through everyone else's point of view but Gabe and Lea's (even a squirrel's!), and yet you get to know these two characters so well. Cute to the max!

If you like romance and rom-coms,you'll like A Little Something Different.  

 

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, or believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

And I thought I couldn't love Mindy Kaling more! I was wrong. Everything you love about Mindy is in this book -- it's charming, down-to-earth, self-deprecating, and of course so funny. I like how she doesn't take any of Hollywood's bullshit ideals seriously and does her own thing. Even though this book is about her life and there's a lot of humor, the biggest message I got out of it is that hard work and determination and believing in yourself will get you where you want to go. Everyone go read this now!

If you like humor, non-fiction, and Mindy Kaling herself, then you'll like Why Not Me?

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Watch This: Fascinating Documentaries

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Hello again my fellow movie lovers! I thought that today I would feed your mind with some fantastic documentaries that you can watch on Netflix right now.

Casting By Have you ever wondered how the actors are chosen to be in a movie? As someone who loves movies as much as I do, and has worked in the entertainment industry, I find the casting process to be quite interesting. Casting By takes a look at how casting directors have shaped Hollywood over the last 50 years. Through interview with Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and several more heavy hitters, you’ll see how the movies used to be cast in the 1920s and how the process has evolved.

Fed Up Narrated by Katie Couric, this documentary takes you on an investigative journey into the American food industry and how it might be the reason more health issues than anyone had previously realized.

The Paw Project I’m a bonafide animal lover, especially when it comes to cats. I’m a total cat person and I think they are the cutest things ever! The Paw Project is about veterinarian, Jennifer Conrad, and her fight to protect the rights of felines. Jennifer Conrad brought to light the devastating effects of de-clawing to several city councils in the state of California. I had no idea the horrible effects de-clawing a cat could do! It was an eye-opening documentary.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory This is a heart wrenching film about the amazing connection between people and music. Social worker Dan Cohen is an advocate for musical therapy with patients that suffer from dementia. Cohen shows you the ability that music has to fight memory loss and “restore a deep sense of self” to dementia patients.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead At 310 pounds, Joe Cross is suffering from obesity and a debilitating autoimmune disease. This is an inspiring documentary that follows Joe on a health journey to turn his fate around. For 60 days Joe ditches the processed junk food for a fruit and vegetable cleanse! Along the way Joe meets Phil - a man at 429 pounds that is in daily pain from obesity. This is an inspiring film about two men from two different worlds who realize that the only people that can save their lives are themselves.

Did I miss any?  Leave your suggestions for your favorite documentaries in the comments!

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On Our Bookshelf

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The Water and The Wild by K.E. Ormsbee

Lottie Fisk lives with Mrs. Yates since her parents are dead and her only friends are Eliot, a boy who is very sick, and a mysterious letter-writer. But strange things are happening on the island and then a door in her favorite apple tree opens to a strange world.

I would call this a modern, middle-grade Alice in Wonderland with a timeless feel. Lottie lands in a weird world where she meets three sprites her age (Ollie, Adelaide, and Fife) and they go on an adventure to find Ollie and Adelaide's father, who was kidnapped. The Water and The Wild is whimsical and quirky and the characters are the right amount of interesting and flawed. I think more couldn've been done with this story if it was young adult rather than midle-grade, but I still really enjoyed this book as it is.

If you like fantasy and reading children's books, you'll like The Water and The Wild.

Lois Lane Fallout by Gwenda Bond

Lois Lane is starting a new life in Metropolis. She's trying to stay quiet, but in her new high school a group known as the Warheads is making life miserable for another girl at school. They're messing with her head via a high-tech immersive video game and Lois wants to solve the mystery.

I loved this book so much that I read it in one day. Lois Lane is snarky, intelligent, determined, and keeps her cool. She's on the road to being a reporter and is friends with a guy in Smallville who she talks to online, but he refuses to tell her who she is. I kept turning the pages so fast while reading this; I had to know how the Warheads were messing with this girl's head and if Clark was going to tell her who he is. It's fast-paced, clever, and a fun ride. I need the second book in my hands like yesterday.

If you like strong female characters and superhero origin stories, then you'll like Lois Lane Fallout.

 

Career Profile: Author

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Cate Dashwood, Author

We followed your journey in Issue 1 of Holl & Lane of writing your first books, tell us what the final push to finish them was like. It was a lot of work! I didn't realize all the steps it takes to get a book published after you've already done all this work writing and editing the book. Formatting is a whole part of the process I learned about as I did it. You have to format your book one way for Kindle, and another way for Nook, and then a totally different way for paperback. Even after I had the books edited, I had a lot of formatting work to do, which took about five or six different drafts to finally get right.

Walk us through the steps of publishing a book. Write the book, find a good editor to edit the book (mine were edited twice), find a proofreader to proofread the book, format it, and then upload it. Of course there's a lot of side stuff involving the business aspect of publishing that has to be done - I had to set up an LLC and open a bank account, which required me to get a Tax ID number. Then I had to figure out a website. I also hired a professional cover designer, which was probably the best decision I made. Some authors have beta readers early on in the process, too. Really, it can be as simple or as complicated as you want to make it - but independent publishing means anyone can publish a book. It's a wonderful thing.

Your first two books were recently released with the third coming soon!  What was it like for you on book release day? Surreal! You do all this prep work, and it seemed so far away - and then all of the sudden it was here, and my books were out in the world. I still had to go to my job, which is entirely separate from my writing, so I didn't get to bask in that day too much. Thankfully I work with very supportive, wonderful people, and they were all so excited for me.

We know there are a few "risque" portions of your books- what has that been like in having family and friends read the books? I wish I had some clever, mature answer! The truth is that it is awkward, and I tried to warn my family as best as I could, but at the end of the day it's a romance novel, and sex is part of the story. I cannot stand gratuitous scenes in books, and I really feel like all the scenes are essential in telling a part of the characters' stories. Also, it's not an autobiography. That's what I keep telling people.

Why did you choose the romance genre? I starting reading romance novels during a very tumultuous part of my life, and they were a great comfort to me. I started following my favorite authors on Facebook and Twitter, and loved how they interacted with readers and were so supportive of each other. They would post if another author had a new release or a book on sale, and I just thought that was so lovely. I had always wanted to write a book, and one day it just clicked - why not write a romance novel?

What are you most looking forward to now that they are out in the real world? Just hearing from readers after they finished the books - whether they loved or hated them. I know I need to learn to deal with bad reviews, as that's just part of being an author. Right now I'm concentrating on being thankful that people are reading my books.

You can buy Cate's first and second books, Straight Up (The Dugan Siblings Vol. 1) and On The Rocks (The Dugan Siblings, Vol. 2) on Amazon (available in paperback and for your Kindle), or over on Barnes and Noble (for your Nook).

Watch This: Football Movies For Fall

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Happy Thursday everyone! I’m Erica and like you, I love Netflix! Something else I love just as much as Netflix is Fall. What does fall mean ~ FOOTBALL! I am a sucker for sports movies, especially Football movies. Since fall is officially in swing and the football season is heating up, I thought I would share with you 5 Football Movies to watch on Netflix.

Rudy

This is a story about perseverance beyond all measure. Rudy Ruettiguer has always dreamed of playing football for the University of Notre Dame, but doesn't have the grades or the money for it. After his best friend dies in an accident at the steel mill Rudy decides to leave home and pursue his dream. With the help of his friend and tutor, D-Bob, Rudy works to gain admission to Notre Dame and fight his way onto the Fighting Irish.

Radio

In a racially divided town in the 1970’s, Coach Jones spies Radio, a disabled African-American student, near his practice field. Upon learning of Radio’s love for football, Coach Jones decides to befriend him and in time Radio becomes his loyal assistant. When the town starts to feel that Coach Jones’ relationship with Radio is beginning to interfere with the team’s trek for the title championship, things start to take a turn.

The Longest Yard

Pro football quarterback, Paul Crewe, has once again disgraced himself and landed in prison. When Warden Hazen recruits Crewe to assist with the prison’s football team, he ends up quarterbacking a crew of fellow inmates in a game against the prison guards. With the help of an incarcerated ex-NFL coach Crewe and his team of misfits must learn to play dirty enough to take down the corrupt guards.

Varsity Blues

In Texas, high school football rules the day! When the West Canaan Coyotes’ starting quarterback, Lance Harbor, gets injured the team’s merciless coach must bring up the benchwarmer, Jonathon “Mox” Moxon, to lead the team to victory. Suddenly in the spotlight, Mox must learn to deal with the pressure of carrying the town’s dreams on his back as well as finding his own way.

Jerry Maguire

When sports agent Jerry Maguire reaches a moral dilemma he sends a company-wide memo that gets him fired. In an act of desperation to hang on to his athletes, Jerry begins his own management company with the help of single-mom Dorothy Boyd. Putting all of their faith into their sole client, football star Rod Tidwell, Jerry and Dorothy being to fall for each other as they figure out how to make their company work.

On Our Bookshelf

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Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel On a snowy night, a famous actor dies the same night a terrible, highly-contagious flu begins to spread. Fifteen years later, Kristen is an actress with the Traveling Symphony, a troupe that moves between settlements to perform Shakespeare, but in one town they encounter a violent prophet.

This book is emotional and thought-provoking and eerie. It really made me think about our society and the things we all take for granted (running water, air conditioning, antibiotics). I thought about it for days afterwards. The story flips back and forth between the past and the present, giving you more insight into the characters living and dead. Despite the resolution feeling a little rushed, this story isn't about the confrontation with the prophet, but about how wonderful it is that us humans remain hopeful and resourceful. Reading Station Eleven will leave you feeling anxious about a flu pandemic, but hopeful that people can survive anything with grace.

If you like post-apocalyptic novels and literary fiction, you'll like Station Eleven. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas After Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast comes to her home seeking retribution. She must live in the faerie world full of dangerous creatures for the rest of her life or die. It turns out the beast is also a young man named Tamlin and her feelings turn from icy hostility to fiery passion. But something wicked threatens not only the Fae world, but her own.

Sarah J. Maas' writing is amazing (so much beautiful imagery!) and this story completely drew me in (it's based on Beauty and the Beast!). Feyre is a tough gal; she hunts for her family and leaves them in order to protect them and goes with Tamlin into the Fae world despite the danger. I really like Feyre and Tamlin's understated love for each other and how they make each other better. The story goes in an unexpected but fascinating direction about three-fourths of the way through that will have you turning like the pages like a mad woman because you need to know what happens next.

If you like YA fantasy, books about fairies, and romance, you'll like A Court of Thorns and Roses.

The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna Elle Luna's book takes you on a personal journey to figure out what your "Shoulds" and "Musts" are in life. “Should” is what we feel we ought to be doing, or what is expected of us. “Must” is the thing we dream of doing, our heart’s desire.She wants us all to take that leap towards "Must," our true callings.

I heard Elle Luna speak while at BookCon and was instantly mesmerized. She speaks so eloquently and presented the idea of "Shoulds" and "Musts" in a raw way that makes you realize how badly you want to go after your own "Must." This book is beautiful to read due to the colorful, sketchbook-like art, it's thought-provoking, it's inspirational, and a little scary because it forces you to take a good, hard look at your life and what you need to be doing. I would recommend this book to everyone.

If you like self-help books and art, you'll like The Crossroads of Should and Must.