Mindful Mornings: Daily Reflections and Meditations to Start Your Day Off Right by Rachael L. Thompson

Summary:

Mornings are said to be the most powerful part of any day. They represent a fresh start, a new beginning. Devoting just five minutes each morning to reflection and meditation will transform your days and eventually lead to a more blissful life. Carry these reflections and meditations with you through your days and watch your daily experiences transform. Stress will seem far less daunting, you will be able to enjoy each moment and appreciate those around you as your heart is filled with love and gratitude. You owe this time to yourself. Transcend any limitations brought about by negative thinking and experience true peace and deep joy. Love and light as you continue on your journey.

Overall:

There are 25 reflections covered here plus some meditation information. There are even some mantras. Some of the reflections are overlapping while others stand very much alone. I was impressed by the information under them. I thought the order was a little strange but I did like that happiness came last. There was also the idea of selflessness and positive regard for others. As a very logical person the section that I felt was woefully lacking was ‘life purpose.’ I thought this was far more important than some of the other sections and was on the shorter side. Perhaps that was because there was a chapter on goals that this seemed so short. For sure a quick read in the morning with some tea (or coffee) before leaving in the morning.

Rating

4 stars.

25 reflections that may help you become a mindful person.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Mindfulness: 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge: Step-By-Step Guide to Living a Stress-Free & Happy Life (Mindfulness for Beginners) by Rachael Thompson

Summary

Who Will Benefit from this Book?

The 30 Day Mindfulness Challenge can be used alone or as a companion to the Beginner’s Guide to Mindfulness in a World of Chaos. If you have heard of mindfulness, perhaps read a bit about it, or even tried one of the popular coloring books, but have not experienced a significant change in stress level or happiness this book will help. It provides the perfect beginner’s guide to implement mindfulness every day.

What You Can Expect

The challenge is broken into four, weekly sections, with one bonus day to begin the challenge and another to end the challenge. Each week has a different focus to facilitate optimal learning at each stage of mindful skill development.

Overall

An interesting concept for sure. I went ahead and did the first week of mindfulness. It starts you out slow and lets you build throughout the weeks. I liked the introspective look it made you take. As a person who prides myself on knowing my strengths and weaknesses, I could see the benefit to those that feel their locus of control is constantly threatened by chaos. What I struggled with was the cookie cutter ideas that didn’t give alternatives to accommodate different personalities. I believe it was a little short sighted in that regard. That being said it was a great introduction to managing stress and I’d recommend this short read to those who would like a quick step by step approach.

Rating

4 Stars

A short read that doesn’t overwhelm the reader and could instill helpful stress reducing habits. If you don’t have something that helps reduce stress – this might be for you.

I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Seasons of Love and War by Brenda Ashworth Barry

Summary

SEASONS OF LOVE AND WAR is a historical family saga and epic love story. Childhood sweethearts Beth Ann Rose and Kaylob Shawn O’Brien just want to get married and pursue their dream careers, but the Vietnam War changes everything when Kaylob is drafted into the Army and declared dead. Beth Ann has a complete emotional melt down and starts to have visions of him in the jungles of Vietnam. Is he alive or has she completely lost her mind?

Characters

Kaylob, Beth Ann, and Blake are the three main characters. Although I liked both Kaylob and Blake to certain extents, I couldn’t bring myself to like Beth Ann. She reminded me as a lead in a trashy soap opera. By the end of the book I absolutely loathed her – to the point that I didn’t think she deserved anyone and I wished very much that things end poorly for her. She was not what I would define as a strong woman. Her reaction when Kaylob first goes missing was absolutely over the top. Most of her actions, in one way or another, were understandable  in some regard, but it was the way she handled them that was STUPID. She was a spineless selfish little creature that I hope ends up dying in a horrible way to match her horrible little personality – very similar to my emotions toward Catherine of Wuthering Heights. The supporting characters were fine, I actually liked Jake and Carol. I won’t even mention her long term friend because I’ll just start another rant on how much I disliked Beth Ann. Plus I don’t want to ruin any of the story.

Plot

Very interesting plot. The historical aspects of this book seemed to spot on. Anything I wasn’t 100 sure of, I actually googled really quickly and was impressed that the author did their homework. A hurrah because this was presented as a more historical novel. Wanting to find out what happened to Kaylob was hands down the number one reason I went through the book. I didn’t realize when I picked this book that it couldn’t stand alone. That was very disappointing because more than once I thought “was that really necessary?” Though that may have been due more to my dislike of the main character.

The war zone pieces were great…but they were entirely centered on Kaylob’s love for Beth Ann. I get that it was their connection – but for a historical novel I thought we’d see a little more of what was happening to him and his fellow soldiers. What we did see were some of the best parts of the novel and I absolutely love Kaylob for them. Where the author failed with Beth Ann in my eyes, Kaylob was wonderful. Not perfect, but wonderful. Plus I’m not 100% sure where the author was going with the more supernatural part of the book with Beth Ann’s visions. You’ll see what I mean.

Overall

The writing was well done and easy to follow. The plot wasn’t perfect but did keep me engaged. I would point out that a few parts felt a little convenient – like when John Patterson calls Beth Ann. I also felt there were a few logical fallacies that were overlooked, but most of them were minor and had to do with Beth Ann’s decision making in general. The historical references were spot on as far as I could tell – which was a huge win in my mind. I truly thought that my general dislike of Beth Ann would fade as the author built the character up and made her stronger. Instead she kept her a pouting selfish brat, who I could never sympathize with because she always seemed to be using those who were good-natured.

Rating

2.5 stars (rounded up to 3)

If you like Wuthering Heights or soap operas you will love this book – it just wasn’t my favorite. As a historical novel this was a win, but as a romance for me it was an epic fail.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. More reviews at creatingworldswithwords.wordpress.com.

#giveaway for The Sixth Gate

I’m giving away a signed copy and sewn bookmark for The Sixth Gate!

book1_the_sixth_gate_frontl.jpg

You could win these!

In July, The Sixth Gate released and I’d like to send a copy to someone who loved the prequel!

All you have to do is these three things:

  • Acquire a copy of The Gate Guardian’s Daughter (you get a free copy when you sign up for my MAILING LIST);
  • Read The Gate Guardian’s Daughter; and
  • Leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads (both to double your chances)!3

I’m only giving the opportunity to those who are on my mailing list – so make sure you sign up! You could win a copy of the book and the hand stitched bookmark.**

You have until September 30, 2017 to submit in a review. I’ll select (using a random selection program) and notify the winner the following weekend.

**If you live outside the United States (US) you can only win an unsigned copy of the book (not the bookmark).

 

Vermilion Tears by Tia Lee

Summary

Vermilion Tears is a gothic paranormal novel set in Victorian times. Lydia comes from humble beginnings living with her family in New Haven. Her life gets turned upside down when she is on a train to New York City to start her new life. Lydia is attacked by supernatural creatures she didn’t even realize existed. Now a supernatural being herself, she finds herself fleeing from a brutal captor and trying to keep her family intact. Will she be caught or will she succeed in escaping and restoring her family?

Characters

Lydia is a leaf caught on the wind of change. She seems to go with the flow…not always making the best of decisions. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d like her or not. What I can say is that after she turns and is a captive, I finally felt like I got to know Lydia’s character. Edgar and Ruben were interesting supporting characters. I’d also like to mention that I had a hard time with multiple chapters being in first person, which may have further contributed to some very confusing POV shifts. As a side note: I hated Edgar’s lengthy monologues and it really hampered my overall like of them.

Plot

I love Gothic novels, especially Victorian era with a paranormal twist. Penny Dreadful always comes to mind when I see this genre. This book is no different. There were aspects of the plot I just loved. The paranormal aspect was absolutely nailed – it had all of the fan favorites. Not to mention the witches! Loved them. I actually was really enjoying the novel despite its flaws…until the epilogue. It felt rushed, choppy, and I felt like I got whiplash at the sudden change. All of which would have been great earlier in the book. I love when books surprise me, but this felt like a last minute addition to set the stage for a second book.

Overall

There were some historical inaccuracies and some of the conversations were just a little too modern to be believable in the time. Such as they ordered a Bloody Mary in the mid-1800s. Since this is marked as a historical novel, I feel it is important to point this out. That being said if you can overlook the flaws historical aspects, you’ll enjoy the plot like I did. Still loving the paranormal aspects of the story the most! Honestly I wondered once to twice why this wasn’t written in a more recent time frame.

The setting was well developed, which was why I could picture many of the scenes in my head. That being said there were many parts of the plot that felt too convenient. I struggled with how the characters knew some of the information. For example, when Lydia is attacked she immediately knew it was a vampire. I thought this was alternative history where people are suspicious of the supernatural and believe in it, but not that it is a every day place. Perhaps I missed this but some of the leaps the characters make in figuring things out was a stretch more than once.

Rating

3 Stars

It was okay. Strong paranormal story with some needed work in plot and character development. Felt more like a paranormal thriller or suspense, rather than a historical novel.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review.

In What Remains by K.B. Rose

Summary

When Rachel and her family make a routine stop and become the targets of a violent assault, their summer road trip descends into a nightmare. Only the intervention of a stranger saves her life, and as they flee the crime scene, she wavers between fear and self-preservation. Can she trust him? Can she afford not to? Short-tempered and wholly impatient with her, Eric was somehow connected to it all, but he’s her key to surviving in a bleak new world. The first step in doing this is running as fast, and as far, as she can.

Moving forward in a dissolute whirlwind, Rachel has just one goal: to forget that day, by any means possible. But as her tangled connection with Eric deepens, she can’t quite forgive his role in it. She can’t forget his ties to the person responsible. And she can’t let go of the anger that begins to take root, leading her into a dangerous quest she might not come back from.

In What Remains is a dark and gritty novel of loss, love, and survival in a time when everything familiar is gone.

Note: This book contains explicit language, sexual content, drug use, violence, criminal activity, and women who fight back. Intended for mature readers only.

Characters

Rachel is both the most awesome character and the worst. In my mind she felt more like a leaf caught in a current being pulled downstream. Instead of fighting it she just went along with it, choosing survival above all else. Eric was complicated and vivid. He was the center in most of this novel, the pillar that bridged all of the individuals together. Suzy was hilarious, but represented the catalyst. All wonderfully portrayed and gritty.

Plot

I struggled with this being a romance for the first half of the book. Ultimately it is for the second half of the book and I loved it. I actually think the primary plot is more of a suspense. It was nail biting and hard to put down. I stayed up late a few nights in a row to finish it! I don’t want to give anything away but this was not for the faint of heart. This is one roller coaster ride worth riding!

Overall

I was really impressed with this book. I loved the romance. I was cheering for them. I loved how unpredictable the first half of the book was. I will note that ultimately knowing it was a romance meant I knew where it was going and how it was going to end. That was both good and bad – I knew it would all work out but it also lost some of the edge because I suspected it would have a happy ending. I’m still not sure if I was completely satisfied with the ending.

There were two parts that I didn’t like. As wonderful and gritty as it was, Rachel being underage for much of the first part of the book when she is spiraling, really put me on edge. I struggled with it. Don’t get me wrong, it was wonderfully written, but I personally almost quite twice at certain terrible parts of the book. I don’t care that she was an adult when the really bad stuff happened – I felt like the author specifically made her 18 for that scene so that I wouldn’t cringe. At that point I started to think how convenient it was that she was 18, rather than what was happening to the character. I also disliked right near the end, when she eventually faces Jimmy. I actually was disappointed with that entire part of the book – felt it was unnecessary and went too far.

Rating

4.5 Stars (rounded down)

Amazing characters, gritty realism, and nail biting suspense. The underage aspect of the main character was just too much for me when this was supposed to be a ‘romantic suspense.’ Would totally read another of the author’s book!

I received a copy in exchange of an honest review.