Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

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Wonderfully informative and humorous guide to Meditation.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren. I chuckled at the Table of Contents and how accurate the section and chapter titles were when applied to human nature. Some of the headings are “I Don’t Have Time for This”, “If I Get Too Happy, I’ll Lose My Edge” and “People Might Think I’m Weird”. So great and opens up the path for humor in its pages. I was excited to discover the app that accompanies the instructional meditation given in this book. The commentary is full of humor and deals with thoughts that swirl through our minds as we try to relax and meditate. Short and easily doable meditations are introduced along with helpful, concise cheat sheets. I love the “RAIN”, “Walking Through Sound” and “Ten Good Breaths”! This quote captures the true essence of this practical and useful book, “Meditation is basically the end of boredom.” I was surprised and disturbed by the results of the study “Pandora’s Box” where people were left alone in a room with no stimulus, except a button that produced an electric shock. Many of the participants chose to give themselves electric shocks because of their discomfort of being quietly alone. Wonderfully informative instructional guide on meditation for anyone who wants to try but is skeptical of meditating, 5 stars!

The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday

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The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday opens with the realization that Finn has been murdered by Talvi, his own brother. After Finn’s death, the Marinossian family is distraught and in turmoil because of the loss of Finn and Talvi’s murderous act. Talvi ends up in Bleakmoor Island Prison until his trial, while Annika is sent away from the Elven world for several reasons: her safety, secrecy and to help the Marinossian family heal. An enormous turn of events changes everything and the story unfolds while continuing to build character development and the world of the Marinossians. The beloved personalities return in this sequel and the character spectrum grows larger. Another Annika Brisby story full of suspense, danger, romance and magic. 5 stars!

A River of Silence by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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A River of Silence by Susan Clayton Goldner-January 24. Detective Radhauser has been through enough tragedy personally and professionally to last a lifetime. He’s lost his wife and son in a car accident and has struggled with cases that he has taken to heart. He’s now married to Grace and they’re making a family of their own with love and happiness but he still deeply feels the loss of his first wife and their son. He’s called out around midnight to investigate a 911 call, where he helps a hearing impaired man administer CPR on a toddler, while waiting for the ambulance. The child ends up dying and Caleb Bryce, the man giving CPR, is arrested. The community seems to immediately believe that Bryce is guilty and he only has a few people who believe he’s innocent, the detective, his appointed lawyer and his elderly neighbor. This well-rounded mystery opened my eyes and heart and reminded me of how precious and fragile life is. The highly developed characters and their interwoven actions and personalities made this mystery an absolute want-to-read-through-in-one-sitting book, 5 stars!

S’more to Lose by Beth Merlin

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Thanks to NetGalley and Ink Monster for the opportunity to read and review S’more to Lose by Beth Merlin! Four years after the first book, this sequel finds Gigi and Perry in London and at an impasse in their relationship. They have moved on from their relationship, by all appearances. Perry is famous for writing a popular musical and Gigi and Jamie have built a growing, productive designer business, G-Malone. Prince Alexander and Victoria Ellicott are planning their wedding and want G-Malone to design the wedding dress and wedding attire for the upcoming royal wedding celebration. Gigi meets Gideon and they gradually fall for each other and all is well until paparazzi create a gossip story under false pretenses and blow everything out of the water. Tumultuous and romantic with the added bonus of artistic creativity build into a very enjoyable story; 5 stars!

One S’more Summer by Beth Merlin

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Thanks to NetGalley and Ink Monster for the opportunity to read and review One S’more Summer by Beth Merlin! This is a fun story filled with summer camp adventures and relationship struggles. Gigi is at a rough place and becomes a camp counselor to escape and hopefully regroup before she heads back to her regular life as unemployed and single, after a confusing affair. Perry has been a summer counselor for four years and he’s dealing with his own supposed skeletons in the closet. Gigi treats Perry with only anger, assuming he’s arrogant and immature when she hasn’t even given him a chance. Over the summer and in spite of their bad start, Gigi and Perry began to confide in each other and realize they have a lot in common. Gigi can’t seem to get away from her past and she faces everything head on, thanks to the support of her friends and family. The ending is cute and hopeful after the tumultuous distrust and intensity. One S’more Summer weaves a realistic and rocky story of how relationships come and go and how we handle them and how we deal with the in-betweenness of being single. 5 stars!

Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad

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Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state that a remake of Scarface will take place in 2017. The whole time I was reading this book, I visualized the original Scarface movie. 4 stars for a true account of crime in Miami!

Beyond a Darkened Sky by Dana Alexander

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Beyond the darkened sky by Dana Alexander begins as Sara awakens in a forest alone, but she feels like someone is watching her. They show themselves and partially explain who they are. She’s confused and lost as they explain to her who she is and why she’s there. Once again, science fiction is not my favorite genre and the story elements were confusing, even though the descriptions were well done, they were too deep for me. 3.5 stars.

Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis

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Saving Brad by Siobhan Davis is the fifth book in the Kennedy Boys series. The author brings the reader up to speed with perfection and the complex storyline continues with the characters returning to their sophomore year at Harvard. Rachel and Brad deal with their tumultuous relationship among both of their families’ problems. They realize that they’re becoming friends after they both finally let their guard down. Suspense filled storyline and dynamic characters are Siobhan Davis’ mark and make this book another highly recommended new adult read. 5 stars!

I voluntarily reviewed an advance complimentary copy of this book.

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

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Thanks to NetGalley and Atria Books for the opportunity to read and review I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart. Kevin Hart is known for his hilarious ranting and his extreme expressions. His memoir shows all that is funny about Kevin Hart and also the serious side of his life and how he became the energetic comedian he is today. Photos are scattered throughout the book, including pictures of Kevin throughout his life and a family picture with his mother and brother. The three of them resemble each other so much that it surprised me. I especially enjoyed his acknowledgments which contain some hilarity of their own. Even his disclaimer is funny. 5 stars for a memoir that opened my eyes to the real Kevin Hart!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

IT by Stephen King

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It by Stephen King- oh, the wonderful writing of Stephen King with his creative and spooky imagination! It opens with Georgie in 1957, witnessed by Mr. Gardner, as he runs after his homemade paper boat in the rain. The boat was made by his older brother, Billy. The story of Georgie alternates with the story of Aidan Mellon in 1984 and the arrest, of who the police thought the killers were, made by Harold Gardner, Mr. Gardner’s son. The story of horror continues through generations in the town of Derry. The confusion, violence and human degradation continue also with the study of human behavior that only Stephen King can pinpoint and deeply describe so well. As I read It, I became less scared and more disturbed by the happenings of human conduct in Derry. The story alternates between episodes of Pennywise’s activity, spanning centuries. The story lost its spooky appeal as it kept dragging on. The ending is not as satisfying as I was hoping it would be. The almost sci-fi ending is strange. Sadly, this is not one of my favorite Stephen King books. 3.5 stars.