Blog Book Marks

September-October 2021 Book Marks

Autumn is a time of change, downshifting from the warm days of summer to cooler nights and shorter days. We’re never too old for change. Trying something new challenges us. It keeps us vital.

The pandemic put many people at a crossroads, a pause that can also be a positive time to make change. Folks I know are finding themselves in the post-covid clutch, recalibrating where they are in the world and what comes next. I’m having a lot of conversations with people asking, “What do I want to do with my career?” “Am I living my potential? Doing what I want?”

While the pandemic has negatively impacted working women, many over 50 are using this time to make a change, leaving their jobs in search of work that:

• Feels more meaningful
• Makes an impact
• And still allows time and freedom for the things they love

If you are at a crossroads, thinking about looking for a new job, starting a business or even adding a side hustle…Camp Reinvention is a great next step in your professional pivot. I happen to love their tag line, “a new career by the end of the year.”

As a communications coach, I have the pleasure of working with many interesting, accomplished and notable clients. I’ll be leading a course at Camp Reinvention on how to amplify your presence, including tips and tricks on how to bring your most powerful and engaging self to interviews, presentations, meetings and every other communications situation.

Click this link or the above image to learn more and sign up:  A note about my participation, I’m selective about who and what I align myself with and I may receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

And while you’re contemplating your next chapter, grab one of the new fall crops of books and have a read…


The Book of Magic by Alice Hoffman

For fans of Hoffman’s seminal series about the Owens family, this delicious conclusion brings together the tale of mothers and daughters, three centuries of a curse on love and the bonds of family and magic that span the generations.  The tale takes us on a romp from that first ancestor Maria Owens, who practiced the “Unnamed Art” in the English countryside, to the latest generation in Kylie Owens who uncovers the truth about herself and her own dark powers.  Filled with darkness and light, secrets and love, this book will cast a spell the same way all of Hoffman’s writing does.  


Catch Us When We Fall by Juliette Fay

Cass and Ben partied their way through their 20’s, slowly descending into a world of alcohol and destruction until Ben dies, leaving Cass broke, homeless and pregnant.  Determined to make a better life for her baby and clean up her act, she turns to the only person she can think of to help her, Ben’s brother.  As a third baseman for the Boston Red Sox, he is a local hero in every bar, while secretly nursing issues of his own.  As the two of them turn to one another to find the way forward, they begin to understand that forgiveness and change are possible.


Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

It’s Nina Riva’s annual end-of-summer party and everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas.  The siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu—especially as the children of legendary singer, Mick Riva. There’s Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel, brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their baby sister, Kit.  But Nina isn’t excited about the party.  She’s just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband.  By midnight the party will be completely out of control, the alcohol flowing, music blasting and the loves and secrets that shaped their family will explode out in the open.  By morning, the Riva mansion will have been burned to the ground and the family will have to choose what they’ll keep from one another and what they will leave behind.  If you loved “Daisy Jones and the Six,” this is the author’s follow-up novel.


The Living and the Lost by Ellen Feldman

Millie Mosbach and her brother David escape to the States just before Kristallnacht, leaving their parents and little sister in Berlin. Millie attends Bryn Mawr on a special scholarship for non-Aryan German girls and graduates to a magazine job in Philadelphia. David enlists in the army and is eventually posted to the top-secret Camp Ritchie in Maryland, which trains German-speaking men for intelligence work.

Returning to bombed-out Berlin after the war, brother and sister are determined to find their family.  David finds a job helping displaced persons build new lives, while hiding his more radical nighttime activities from his sister.  Working in a publishing job, Millie is able to root out the most dedicated Nazis, and is consumed with rage at her former country and its citizens.  But she must also come to terms with a decision she made as a girl in a moment of crisis, and with the quiet and sometimes infuriating Major Sutton, the boss who understands her demons.


The Surrogate by Toni Halleen

When Ruth falls in love in her 40’s with a charming lawyer Hal, she is suddenly desperate to have a child with her new husband.  Enter Cally, a 19-year old who wants to go to college and serving as a surrogate for the couple will give her the financial means to do so.   But after giving birth, Cally changes her mind and this is only the beginning of the nightmare for everyone involved.  The story never stops moving, and is told from everyone’s point of view it builds to a crescendo as it raises thought-provoking questions about society and how we view motherhood, what is a family and how much is a pregnancy “worth.”


As the Wicked Watch by Tamron Hall

Jordan Manning is a small-town girl from Texas, who lands an investigative reporting job with a Chicago TV station, breaking gender and race barriers with the hope of carving a name for herself.  When a young black teenager is murdered, Jordan hopes that she can both solve the crime and get recognition on the national stage.  Drawing on her own background as a reporter (yes, she’s THAT Tamron Hall) host of a crime series, as well as the loss of her own sister to murder, Hall’s compelling story weaves in the indifference of the justice system and the many forces that leave children vulnerable.  This is the first in her series about the stiletto-wearing journalist.


Damascus Station by David McCloskey

For lovers of Tom Clancy and spy novels everywhere, this book ups the game on Middle Eastern intrigue.  Written with a CIA veteran’s first-hand insight, this story is full of compelling twists and turns as it illuminates the heartbreak, betrayal and corruption of war-torn Syria and the sophistication in the ways of spy tradecraft.  When a CIA operative is tortured and killed, the wheels are set in motion for love, entrapment and the race to turn an asset deep within the Assad regime.  This book is heart-thumping good. 


The Last Checkmate by Gabriella Saab

Maria Florkowska is a young member of the Polish resistance in Nazi-occupied Warsaw.  She and her family are captured and sent to their deaths in Auschwitz, but she is spared when the sadistic camp deputy realizes she’s a talented chess player and begins to use her to entertain the guards.  For four years, nursing the flame of revenge, Maria begins to play chess simply to stay alive.  And then she hatches a plan to see justice brought to the wicked man who condemned her family to die.  As the war comes to an end, she is forced to play one last game which will end in life or death. 

*These are books I genuinely love and am thrilled to recommend to my friends. These are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I get a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Alternately, if you prefer to rent books at your local library or buy from your local bookstore, I very much support that!


Lee Woodruff     Speaker-Author-Executive Media Trainer