4.5 Star Review · Angels · book review · Brain · Romance · Youth/Young Adult

All Things New by Lauren Miller (a review)

All Things New by Lauren Miller

Published by Three Saints Press(August 1, 2017)

ISBN: 978-0998511115

After a car accident Jessa Gray finds herself wallowing in a bout of questions and insecurities along with a new disability: aphantasia. She can no longer visualize imagery in her mind, but once she moves to Colorado to live with her dad, not only does she meets new friends, she begin to learn that maybe this disability is not a disability, but unique and useful.

This book is incredible as far as imagery and ideas. When Jessa finds her boyfriend cheating on her, it throws her into a panic attack while driving and then some car speeds past a red light and hits her causing her entire world to change. As you read, you get the feeling Jessa has always relied on her beautiful  looks in the past to cover up who she really inside- which is broken. The author does an amazing job slowly peeling back the layers of Jessa’s life and helping us to see why she thinks and behaves the way she does.

The beautiful takeaway in this story is that panic disorders are real but with the right support and love, you can heal.”

The shining light is Marshall. His attraction to Jessa seems instant. Even with her scars he see her as beautiful and wants to spend time with her. He tries to see the best in everyone and even though he has a hole in his heart, his love for Jessa could repair her own. Their romance buds pretty fast and that was unexpected, however their interaction was all marshmallows and hearts.

My eyes are on his chin, his forehead, then, finally, his eyes, which leap at me…swallowing up air between us…let go of me. But he isn’t holding on to me…He’s just looking at me.” (All Things New, 2017)

What is also interesting about the book is the references to “The Portrait of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde. The book seems to mirror the story as far as perception and the soul is concerned. It piqued my interest in reading Oscar Wilde’s novel.

In summation, the book was definitely good if you are into serious existentialist talk, Van Gogh, and teen issues. An overall good story.

Learn more about Lauren Miller and then if you’re feeling super geeky, check out this link on existentialism and learn more about that too and click Aphantasia to learn about that as well.

This book was received for free from Netgalley!

 

book review · Brain · Communicating with God · Five Star Review

Kamaria G. Powell Asks Us: WTF is Enlightenment(a review)

What the F#@k is Enlightenment? By Kamaria G. Powell

Publication Date: March 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1365305320

Perfect Bound Paperback, get it on Lulu today!

*Received from Netgalley for my unbiased review*

______________

I know I have an amazing book on my hands when I just can’t stop highlighting enlightening words and anecdotes. Kamaria G. Powell’s words feel as if they are bubbling from a pot of sincerity and love, as if a sister is trying to encourage you in your darkest hour.

WTF is Enlightenment is a clarion call and book of personal experiences, detailing just what the heck spirituality is and all it can be.

The really cool thing, is that Kamaria does not just tell us what enlightenment is, she reiterates over and over that we “have to embrace our own spirituality” and this can be difficult for many of us because who we are tend to be tied down to religion, passed down teachings, titles and material wealth.

“What I learned from my deep longing to be seen as a spiritual being, was that you don’t need anyone to knight you.”(WTF is Enlightenment, 2017)

How is it that we allow people outside of us to tell us who we are? That is impossible! Whatever the Creator of the universe has given us, was given by Him. If we need to make moves and make a change, we are already equipped to do so.

Kamaria even gives us some background on her own life story. She does not sugarcoat her mom’s mental illness or her dad’s incarceration, and her choosing to see the lessons and the light from that situation will encourage the reader too.

This book is a welcome fresh air that was not difficult to understand at all. As I said before, this book is a clarion call to be who you are. What can be more beautiful than that? Here are a few tidbits from the book that were precious gems to me:

  • Listen to patterns in your life.
  • You are the access to the Divine- everyone else is a guide.
  • Being spiritual does not require a specific text.
  • You are an expression of God.

Plus many more affirmations.

“You have the power to start thinking of your life as a science that you must study in order to discover your personal truths…”

After reading this wonderful book, I have become more aware and will definitely heed to the lessons Kamaria points out in the material.

If you’ve ever wanted a guide that was not boastful , yet intelligently and simply written. Please choose this one.

 

book review · Brain · writing

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air memoir
Image courtesy of Random House Publishing Group

Paul Kalanithi’s memoir When Breath Becomes Air swells with hope and intellect but leaves room for sorrow.

What makes this book a must read is Paul’s enduring love for literature and the inclusion of patient-doctor dynamics he learned during his practice.

At 36, Paul discovers he has lung cancer(he was a nonsmoker). At this stage of diagnosis he has several things to ponder on: His new life with wife Lucy, the future of having children, continuing  residency- all of these thoughts begin to fly out the proverbial window as Paul realizes he will be leaving his family behind.

As the reader, you are in his head and his heart. His ability to see past his mortality and ramble onward with jewels of poetry is astounding, refreshing.

He graduated from Stanford University with a BA and MA in English literature and so throughout the book he sprinkles timeless quotes from T.S. Eliot, or Shakespeare, and Walt-Whitman:

“What makes human life meaningful? I still felt literature provided the best account of the life of the mind, while neuroscience laid down the most elegant rules of the brain.”(From When Breath Becomes Air, Kalanithi, P., 2016)

Throughout his account, Paul shows us how it can be rough vacillating between patient-doctor roles. He describes his first time cutting into a cadaver, the grueling hours of a brain surgeon, rude patients and tired, nonchalant doctors.

Then, there are the moments when he had to strip himself of “doctor” labels and look up to specialists for answers and  support.

However, what makes this book golden syrup for the soul; what makes it a potential inclusion for literature in all academic spheres, is Kalanithi’s way with words. He faces death with literature in one hand and a scalpel in the other, a warrior who stood brave and true and yet died so young.

He passed on March 2015.

But his spirit lives on in this powerful book.

*Book received for free for my unbiased review from Netgalley

book review · Brain · relationships

All the Things We Never Knew by Sheila Hamilton (a review)

All the things we never knew, Sheila hamilton
Image courtesy of Seal Press

*Book received for free from Netgalley(an uncorrected proof)

If you have ever lost someone to suicide, then this memoir told from not just a radio personality, but a widow who did not know- sheds light and hope on the issue.

“But how much of David’s behavior was the illness and how much was the stubborn(SOB) doing exactly what he pleased? Where did the illness begin and the self disappear?”(63)

 In All the Things We Never Knew, radio personality/reporter, Sheila Hamilton recounts the somber details of her husband’s descent into severe mental illness and eventually his suicide. Their romance begins sweetly enough with passion and curiosity. But there are some things about David that Sheila mentions yet stores away as normal or “just his personality”. Kind of reminds me of another book I reviewed recently.

But there is some foreshadowing of her husband’s illness on the day of their wedding, as witnessed by Sheila’s sister.

My reaction:

As a reader you are aware of how the story ends-obvious from the blurb. But getting there- going through the sludge of hurt along with Sheila as she experiences the pain of her husband’s infidelities, his confusion, warped behavior and outbursts of anger and how utterly alone she is- is brutal to the senses.

It is almost as if she tries to make her way inside his mind and comes up against locked doors. Just what is wrong with David?

Her story is the story of many. Stories of why would someone you love commit suicide? David leaves behind a beautiful daughter, friends and family. But Sheila does not leave us in the dark completely. Her book is part memoir, part warning. There are helpful sections before each chapter which highlights a certain aspect of bipolar disorders, statistics and other helpful information.

5/5 Stars

Book Title: All The Things We Never Knew

Author: Sheila Hamilton

Publish Date: October 20, 2015 Uncorrected Proof

ISBN: 978-1-58005-584-0

book review · Brain · writing · Writing gigs

Andy Maslen’s ‘Persuasive Copywriting’ Applies the Art of Psychology

Persuasive Copywriting

The Psychological Art of Copywriting

Copywriting is the art of creative engaging words to rouse the emotion and attention of your potential buyer.

All over the net, including YouTube, are videos that teach you to copywrite(create ads), but if you do not know where to begin or if you are a seasoned copywriter who wants to learn how to engage your potential buyer, I suggest reading Andy Maslen’s Persuasive Copywriting: Using Psychology to Influence, Engage, and Sell.

A Book With Quizzes…Yahtzee!!!

The book is highly organized, but I chose specific chapters to read and even took the quizzes offered.

Yes, this book has self quizzes and exercises to help you on your journey to copywriting and for me that is an ultimate plus. His book shows you how to go about creating winning ad copy.

If you want to spruce up a boring subject Maslen suggests we:

  1. Interview people.
  2. Gain a fresh perspective.
  3. Focus on how the customer’s life would be so much easier with device/product.

Maslen goes deeper into the mind of a potential client as he explores our limbic system, somatic markers, and the six primary emotions(happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, fear, and surprise).

What You Will Learn About Yourself

At the very end, I took a brief quiz to see if copywriting is for me. Honestly, I love learning about copywriting and I engage in it already. If you have a blog or website and have used your writing skills to talk about a product or if you have made a video promoting a product or service, then you have engaged in copywriting.

My results showed that although I know correct English, I play it too safe.

Bummer.

I will also say this about the book. Make sure you read it thoroughly and take those exercises seriously- it is nothing to skim over.

Learn more about Andy Maslen and his Copywriting Academy.

*Book received for free from Netgalley for my unbiased opinion.

5/5 Stars

Book Details:

Persuasive Copywriting, Andy Maslen

Kogan Page(2015)

ISBN: 978-0-7494-7399-0

e-ISBN: 978-0-7494-7400-3

book review · Brain · Communication

Review: HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence May be the Help Businesses Are Looking For

HBR's 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article The only reason why the book earns five stars is because it is balanced, well written and is possibly the antidote to bad hiring practice(okay, so three reasons)

HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Emotional Intelligence (with featured article “What Makes a Leader?” by Daniel Goleman) by Harvard Business Review

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

*Book received for an unibiased review from Netgalley

Intelligence is far overrated if forecast as the solve all end all in business. The Harvard Business Review has collated several articles concerning emotional intelligence and how important it is for upper management, mid-level management and employees to constantly review their own strengths and weaknesses because it could mean the beginning of a promotion or end of a career. The book clearly believes in the power of regular assessments.

Here’s a problem I have witnessed myself and you may have experienced too. What happens when you have a super smart person in their early thirties or younger that can complete a job perfectly but does not have people skills?

Disaster.

In the article, “Young and Clueless” an example of a young executive rising in the ranks but seen as self seeking and remote is an example of a person not ready for promotion.

“Our colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership have found that about a third of senior executives derail or plateau at some point, often due to emotional deficit…”(Bunker, Kram, and Ting,pg.142)

This guide clearly defends the power of evaluations and the advice offered to those “subordinates”(I hate that term) being evaluated is simply to see it from the side of management.

A few points I disagreed on because if my boss is mad at me and will not speak to me directly, the last thing I want to do is “get the feedback I need” or ignore the hurt when I am treated unfairly. However, I’d say ninety percent of the advice in this guide is awesome and should be read by nearly everyone in business or considering employment in upper management.

View all my reviews

book review · Brain · Youth/Young Adult

Review: “Every Last Word” Mix Psychotherapy With Poems of Hope and Love

Every Last WordEvery Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.”

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Yes, Samantha does appear to be like her teen counterparts; the difference is her OCD and she keeps it under wraps so that she can still be a part of the group. When she meets Caroline and is introduced to the Poet’s Corner, the book takes an interesting turn to verses, true friendship and love.

Tamara Ireland Stone takes every last word and make it haunt you with her life-like characters and important subject matter. The book kept me up for most of the evening and I even read it on my breaks at work, wondering how Samantha will ever get well.

There is an interesting, surprising twist in the novel that takes your mind for a spin and I am betting this will become a bestseller soon.

A timely story for teens who feel they are too different to fit in or stand out. The book also includes some helpful information, acknowledgements, and links for the reader.

Debuts June 2015

My advice?

Get the book.

Who will enjoy this book?
-Teens
-Parents/Adults
-Librarians

And anyone else interested in psychological/teen/literary books.

*Book received for free from Netgalley

View all my reviews