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!
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green opens with Aza as she struggles with self-confidence and feeling like she never belongs. Her best friend and support is Daisy and the two of them set out to earn a reward for finding a missing billionaire. This mystery brings more interest to the story and the dynamic characters are fun, humorous and entertaining as well deep thinking. The three main characters, Aza, Daisy and Davis all bring a lot of interest to the story plus the side characters add an extra depth. I appreciate how John Green portrays mental illness with realism and deeply detailed prose. The author’s note at the end offers insight into his own personal struggles and also help and hotline information. 5 stars for a great portrayal of the human mind and its struggles!
Thanks to NetGalley and Three Saints Press for the opportunity to read and review All Things New by Lauren Miller. Jessa struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. She can’t seem to deal with life very well. After her accident, she’s dealing with so much more than she was before, plus the scars on her face. She refuses to talk about why she’s angry with Wren or anything that’s bothering her. Jessa agrees to move to Colorado with her dad and attend an art school. She makes some friends and builds a relationship with her dad while learning to deal with the aftermath of the accident. Along with her anxiety and scars, Jessa sees bruises and scars on people even though their faces are blemish free. She realizes that she’s hallucinating and her mind is seeing what isn’t there. Jessa works on her confidence, the relationship with her father and building friendships and trust in others. As she’s doing these things, Jessa grows and understands more than the eye can see. 4 stars for this eye-opening realistic fiction novel for young adult readers!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell is a perfect October read. The prologue creates a creepy feeling and, when the story opens with two friends and a ouija board, it seems a little more lighthearted until the foreshadowing leads to dread and tragedy. At that point, I was pulled into the book and couldn’t put it down. Sophie travels to Scotland to visit relatives and to learn about how her cousin Rebecca died. Strange things are happening at Sophie’s cousins’ home and she wants to figure it all out. Sophie gets closer to the spooky happenings while her cousins act more and more strangely. The twists and revelations are fascinatingly spooky! 5 stars for this young adult horror story!
When Time is a River by Susan Clayton-Goldner is a mystery for adults and young adults alike. The story begins with Brandy in the office of a plastic surgeon. She’s suffering from the results of an accident that has changed her face and she wants to look like she used to. She’s babysitting her two-and-a-half-year-old half sister, Emily, at the park during a community Teddy Bear Picnic and while Brandy is in the bathroom stall, someone takes Emily! She overheard Emily talking about Pooh Bear not taking a nap and the detective found flat shoe prints in the restroom. Two witnesses claimed to have seen Emily with a Pooh Bear getting into a car. I didn’t imagine the turn of events that unfolded as the mystery progressed. The unpredictability built suspense and my appreciation for the author’s ability to spin a riveting story! An impressive mystery that is part of the Redemption Lake series but can be read as a stand alone book also. 5 stars for a perfect mystery!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. All the Bright Places cannot be described with one word. This book is tremendous in heartbreak, coping skills, love, loss and grabbing life and enjoying it while you can! The best line of the book is on page 23, “Some people hate him because they think he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants. Some people worship him because he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants.” This statement sums up the reputation of Theodore Finch. Finch is a mystery to everyone. Finch and Violet share the narrative through alternating points of view. Finch struggles with depression and Violet suffers from survivor’s guilt. Violet’s sister died in a car accident not long before the story begins. The awkwardness and humor between Finch and Violet pulled me into the story and made me love both of their characters! When the two were paired together for a class project, their lives intermingled in many ways and they helped each other grow and enjoy life. All the Bright Places is a beautiful story of loss, love and what comes after. I appreciate that the author approached the stigma of needing help and the people we all know as fakers. The author’s notes were soul bearing for her and she discussed difficult topics that tend to be overlooked in our society; way to face the tough parts of human nature! 5 stars for this highly recommended book.
I have finally gotten around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is monumental and legendary in how it faces life head on. The story contains everything from adolescence that defines us – teen angst, popularity or lack thereof, family struggles, dysfunctional families and the relationships that we form during this impressionable time that will help shape our futures. Empowering and overwhelming, this contemporary classic bears its soul for the world to see, learn from and to grow with- 5 stars!
Before I read Inexcusable by Chris Lynch, I read reviews, the synopsis and the author’s reasoning for writing this book. The male main character and point of view was refreshing and a good change of pace. Keir is in denial about what he has done and he sifts through his life’s experiences and tries to justify the type of person he is. By the end of the story, Keir has shared many memories in between the spotlight on his inexcusable act against Gigi, who he claims to love. As the reader, you get to hear from his family members as well and see how they perceive Keir and his actions. I give this book 3.5 stars for a story that may be helpful to teens dealing with similar problems.
Thanks to NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for the arc of And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich! The story opens in the 1980’s when three girls playfully make a protector out of cloth, clay and other items they find around the house. Then, the story jumps to 2013 and a thirteen year-old teenage girl (Silla) and her four year-old sister (Nori) walk a long distance to live with their Aunt Cath in Blood Manor. They enjoy their time with Cath, until she becomes irrationally upset when Nori almost goes into the woods; the woods Cath has warned them to NEVER enter. After that, she lives in the attic while the house deteriorates and the food dwindles. In the meantime, Silla and Nori meet Gowan, a young man who claims to know Cath personally. As time passes, Silla slips further into confusion and madness. The woods keep moving closer and the manor seems to be sinking, while Silla and Nori grow hungrier. This book is creepy and mysterious and sometimes confusing, but then the author shines the light on the twisted story and it makes the confusion worth it. It makes sense in the wonderful ending and this book is proof of why I always finish the books I start reading because there is always the hope that it will turn out to be a good book! I also enjoyed the use of typography to portray emotion. Impressive – 4.5 stars!
I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is interesting from the very beginning. The author alludes to stress factors on the main character, Jazz, and this kept me curious and wanting to learn all about him. I can see this book improving readers’ vocabulary and increasing interest in and gaining knowledge of science because of the way the author writes, making it extremely real, but not too gory. Jazz tries to deal with the fact that his father is a serial killer who raised Jazz to be exactly like him. Metaphors and similes help with understanding how Jazz grew up. The intensity cranks up when Jazz visits his father, Billy Dent, the notorious serial killer, in prison. Wow! The writing flows well and Barry Lyga brings Jazz into our world as a believable person that is dealing with tremendous stress. An unexpected ending leading into the next book made me want to immediately continue reading the series. 5 stars!
Game by Barry Lyga, the second book in the Jasper Dent series, dives right into a mystery. An added aspect to this book, alternating Jazz’ and Connie’s points of view, make this story even more entertaining. Connie’s point of view helps the reader understand how other people see Jazz, instead of just hearing his thoughts. Howie’s personality adds comic relief and made me giggle out loud.
Jazz has been taken to New York to help solve a new serial killer mystery. Morales, an FBI agent that worked on the Billy Dent case, offers to work with Jazz to find his father and kill him. Jazz still struggles with not trusting himself and this is interfering with his relationship with Connie. The book ends with three major cliffhangers! Aaahhh! I do not want to add spoilers, so I am keeping the extreme cliffhangers to myself. 😉 5 stars!
I put off reading Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga because I did not want this series to end! The third book of the Jasper Dent series takes off where Game ended. Jazz is still locked in a storage unit, Billy has Connie and Howie wakes up in the hospital. Billy saves Jazz, then kills the Hat killer. Connie discovers that she is locked up with Jazz’ mother and they are trying to help each other. Jazz’ aunt has disappeared and his grandmother is in the hospital. Nonstop action, intensity and surprises amp up the suspense in this final book.
Jazz will do anything to save his mother and it looks like he will do things he never believed he could, to protect her. The danger increases and the mystery unfolds, while the story delves deeper into the perverse childhood of Jazz. Twisting and unpredictable, this story never failed to enthrall and entertain me. 5 stars!
The Jasper Dent series is perfect for young adults who like to read horror stories!