Dear Millennial, by Chelann Gienger

Book Review: Dear Millennial, by Chelann Gienger

• • • • • • • ► “You have a unique purpose.”

It’s a simple thought. But when you press pass the surface, this statement has power behind it. Because if we each have a one-of-a-kind purpose, then we each have a mission, one that only we can accomplish.

Dear Millennial, brings these abstract principles to concrete reality with examples of purpose in everyday life, ways of getting motivated and accountable for action, and stories of the tough going on when it’s tough. The book takes the reader from the quote above in the opening chapter to the recipe for living out that purpose.

Chelann Gienger

Chelann Gienger

• • • • • • • ► Purpose and finding your own

The book’s subtitle is “A compass to defining your unique purpose, pursuing a life of fulfillment, and building a legacy.” True to those words, the author, Chelann Gienger, helps readers find exactly what they are passionate about. Chelann starts by giving examples of personal mission statements. Next, she talks about values. The examples she shares inspired me to sit down and create my own mission statement and values.

• • • • • • • ► Nurturing motivation

As an entrepreneur, I make quicker progress toward my goals if I am motivated to reach them. Reading Dear Millennial, made me excited to be intentional about achieving my goals and connecting with others who are also pursuing their own goals. Plus, Chelann reminded me why we reach out and make things happen. If one of my goals is to help others (yes), then reaching my goals becomes a win-win situation: my own dreams are fulfilled, and I have aided others in their own as well.

Dear Millennial, cover

• • • • • • • ► Real life stories

Helping others is something Chelann takes seriously. A key feature of the book is her personal stories of real-life experiences. These passages of the book reminded me that success is often born of struggle. Stories on social media and reality TV shows don’t always show us the difficult parts of business, so to have someone tactfully relate the behind-the-scenes of being a business person was timely.

I’m grateful to Chelann for publishing this manual for individuals who have big dreams and want to actively progress toward them. By illuminating the path she has walked, she leaves seeds of motivation to use in our own lives. I definitely recommend this book for adults of any age or as a family read-aloud.

• • • • • • • ► For more about Dear Millennial,

Check out Chelann’s website at:

Or, find her on Facebook or Instagram.

This is an unsponsored review to share a book I found insightful.

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

Hillary writing book notes

The Joy of Writing Book Reviews

It started as a school assignment. I was using a humanities course that stressed reading classic literature. The course not only required students write a review of each book they read, but to identify the book’s protagonist, antagonist, the author’s worldview (and the reason why the reader thought so), five new vocabulary words with definitions, and the title of the next book they would be reading.

I was about as eager to write book reviews as most cats are to take a bath.

But even after the humanities course, I seemed to be haunted by book reviews throughout my high school years. The college prep curriculum I used featured its own book review format. It was far more casual, with just the book’s metadata and a brief summary required. (In this case, brief meant three book reviews would fit on an 8.5 x 11″ page.)

I still found writing reviews to be tedious. However, I did enjoy looking back at all the books I had read. This sliver of benefit led me to continue writing book reviews throughout high school and beyond. Even today I write reviews. Because review writing has been part of my life for over 10 years, I wanted to share the joy of book reviews.

Why Review a book?

Today we have more opportunities to review items, services and people (hello Sarahah!) than I ever remember in the past. Creating a book review for the express purpose of sharing on Goodreads, Amazon or my website provides writing encouragement.

The main reason I routinely review books, though, is to address my memory shortfalls.

If I want to remember the names of the books I’ve read, I write them down. And, because reviews are more than a book list, I have information beyond the title. Fun facts about each book stick with me through reviews. I can check how old I was when I last read a certain book and what I thought about it, which is especially helpful if I’m deciding what to recommend to a younger reader.

People who I only know as screen names have blessed my life through taking time to write reviews. I’d like to thank the hundreds of readers who have helped steer me toward books I’ve loved reading.

These reasons keep me writing about books. But how did I make writing reviews fun?

Reviews began to be fun was when I kept them brief and tried fresh ways of compiling book information.

The Index Card

For over two years now, I’ve been using index cards to take book notes. I first tried this while writing College Without the Campus. In my research for the book, I read several books about higher education, and I needed a place to write down interesting facts that I wanted to reference in my book. When I went to grab something to write on, the closest paper nearby was an index card.

Little did I realize this was going to become my favorite way of taking book notes.

Now I use the card to write key thoughts, quotes, and book titles mentioned by the author. The index card gives me a place to jot new vocabulary words, paraphrase influential statements, and write down concepts to research. When I’m finished with the book, I use the card to write my review.

It took time to find enjoyment in writing book reviews. What kept me going was being able to look back at the books I had read and remember what I thought of them. Now, writing reviews has become habit! Using index cards and keeping them brief makes it fun.

How do you like to keep track of what you read?

Book Review: Homeschooling for College Credit by Jennifer Cook-DeRosa

• • • • • • • ► Meet Jennifer Cook-DeRosa

I was doing college research on when I first learned about author Jennifer Cook-DeRosa. Because she was both a parent and someone who had earned a bachelor’s degree in social sciences using distance learning techniques, she had experience coaching her teens in earning college credit as well as taking credit-by-exam tests. (Cook-DeRosa has since gone on to earn her master’s degree.) I appreciated her regular posts pertaining to Thomas Edison State University, accreditation, and credit-by-exam tests such as CLEP.

In 2012, Cook-DeRosa published Homeschooling for College Credit. This 200-page book guides parents through implementing courses worth college credit into their high school students’ schedules. She begins the book by encouraging parents that teaching high school is doable and then lists some foundational, but critical, information about college courses.

• • • • • • • ► Transferring College Credits

One of the most memorable stories she shares is how the credits she earned for her AOS (Associate in Occupational Studies) in Culinary Arts did not transfer when she went back to college later in life. Not being able to transfer credits was one of my fears about distance learning, and Cook-DeRosa explains how to avoid this (see chapter 3).

Another helpful tool in Homeschooling for College Credit is her four-year high school planning templates. These are designed to schedule credit earning into your high schooler’s curriculum while meeting the requirements for high school at the same time. Essentially, they’re dual credit plans.

Later in the book Cook-DeRosa covers test resources, test-taking skills, making a high school transcript, paying for college, and taking your credit to a college. Also provided is a list of things she prefers in a college and ten colleges that meet those preferences.

• • • • • • • ► A Valuable Resource

Throughout the book, Cook-DeRosa’s experience as a parent of homeschooled children and as a distance learner give the reader plenty to absorb and put into use. Her love for learning, stretching the family’s dollar, and helping other parents jump-start their teen’s college education make this book a handy resource.

For more information about Homeschooling for College Credit, you can preview the book on and visit the Homeschooling for College Credit Facebook page, which is updated regularly with tips and distance learning news.

This is an unsponsored review to share a book I found helpful.

Black mortarboard from College Without the Campus

CLEP Official Study Guide

Product Review: CLEP Official Study Guide

Sometimes the hardest part about taking a credit-by-exam test is finding the right materials to use to prepare. College Board, the creator of CLEP, has made this process easier by offering the CLEP Official Study Guide. This book gives students an overview of each of the 33 CLEP tests and also provides a nearly full-length practice test for each subject. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty details.

Annually updated

The official exam guide is published yearly and updated to match any changes that have been made to each test. Without having a copy of the past year’s edition to compare with the current edition, it can be tough to tell what (if any) changes have been made. Sometimes book reviewers will note changes on bookseller websites like Amazon, or you can check for posts related to changes. If you are using an older edition of the book, you can double-check the test description online to be sure nothing has changed (e.g. an online calculator is still part of the test).

If you are only planning to take one or two CLEP tests, you may prefer to buy the individual exam study guides. The individual guides feature the same information as is in the book. You may save a little money if you only need a guide for one test: the book retails for $24.99, while the individual exam guides cost $10.00 each.

Not a study guide?

An important note is that the CLEP Official Study Guide does not provide the material to use for studying. In this book CLEP offers suggestions on which textbooks and other resources to use. This information can also be found for free by selecting a specific exam at While you’re there, you can download the exam’s resource guide to view a small selection of free practice questions.

Is it worth it?

By now you may be wondering why this guide is worth purchasing. If CLEP offers textbook suggestions and practice questions online for free, why purchase this guide? What this book can give you is a more accurate practice test experience. With the longer practice tests, students can better gauge if they are ready to take the test and get a feeling for taking the actual test. Plus, the test questions are developed by CLEP, so although you won’t find the same questions on an actual test, they will be very similar.

When you’re looking for a handy resource to get you started on learning to take CLEP tests, the CLEP Official Study Guide is a great way to start! The guide is available at bookstores nationwide,, and at the CLEP website.

This is an unsponsored review to share one of my favorite CLEP products. 🙂