Blog Archives

The Mind-Gut Connection by Emeran Mayer, MD

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Most of us have experienced a feeling of queasiness before walking in to a large meeting or to speak in front of a group.  Or we have had that “gut feeling” when we know something is not right.

What is that?

How does our mind connect to our gut ?  Why is the gut sometimes called “the second brain?

 

I love this kind of stuff.  I find it fascinating and I am honestly surprised that I have not thought about this before, why does my gut hurt when I have to do something that makes me nervous?

I can not even express how much I enjoyed this.  I learned so much about serotonin (where your gut stores the most) and had no idea that your gut actually has control of your over all well-being.

I enjoyed reading about the connections between what we eat and how our diet affects everything for brain functionality to over all gut feelings.  Literally. I know about diet and healthy habits obviously, but the connection of the mind and gut to the diet was something I liked reading more about.

Over all a thoroughly enjoyable book.  It has been a busy season here for me and I honestly have not had a lot of time to sit down and read. The book did not read over my head.  It is well written and easy to understand.   I was glad to find out this book was interesting, informative and held my attention.

Recommended.

 

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Wave (July 5, 2016)
  • Language: English

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for connecting my mind to my gut. 

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The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

the ramblers,aidan donnelley rowley, book journey

It is Thanksgiving weekend in New York and three 30 somethings are struggling with their past, their present, and their futures.

Clio March, avid bird watcher who has been mentioned in New York Magazine feels as though she may have found the one in Hotel Owner, Henry Kildare.  Yet when things move in a direction Clio had not anticipated past trauma rushes forward and in a panicked moment she bolts.  What does that mean?

Smith Anderson and Clio have been best friends since Freshman year at Yale.  Smith is beautiful both inside and out and enjoys helping others.  However with a recent break up that has left her reeling, her younger sisters upcoming wedding, and an irrational fear that Clio may have found the one in Henry-  where does that leave Smith?

Tate Pennington is a blast from the Yale past. Dealing with a painful divorce, he relocates to New York to gather some distance and perspective.  He recently has sold an app to Twitter for millions but as Tate is finding out, money does not provide happiness.

This Thanksgiving weekend the three learn what is means to really let go of the past, be present, and learn to be ok with a future that is never certain.

 

 

Can you fall in love with writing?

Of course you can.  I just did.  Reading The Ramblers was like opening a book that brought a rush of fresh air into my lungs.  It is visually appealing from the cover, to the chapters, to the writing itself.  I opened the book up to find a page with one of our protagonists names, a date, and quotes.  I instantly fell in love with this visually and knew I was in for a treat.

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

I loved this story and I enjoyed how the book is broken into sections where each protagonist takes the lead.  While you do get to know each of the three protagonists, it is Clio who we spend the most time with.  I found this book to be a joy to read and once into it, hard to put down.  The entire book takes place over Thanksgiving weekend and I found something about that to be sort of cool – everything that is happening is not drawn out but you have that feeling of NOW.

Thoroughly enjoyable, I would recommend this book to those who love a little something out of the norm.  Author Aidan Donnelley Rowley brings forth a unique ride that I would gladly buy a ticket to ride once again.

 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for an enjoyable weekend in New York with Clio, Smith, and Tate.

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the good liar by nicholas searle

the good liar, nicholas searle, book journey, tlc book tour

Roy is not too hard on the eyes for a man in his 80’s.  He can carry on a friendly conversation and he knows how to put someone at ease.  When he meets Betty through an online dating service, that is exactly what Betty see’s in Roy.  A nice polite older man that she would not mind spending time with. In fact, much to Betty’s family surprise, Roy is soon living with her.

There is of course more to Roy than meets the eye.  Roy is a long time con artist.  He has spent a lifetime of finding ways to separate people from their money and if he does say so himself, he is good at it.  Betty is financially set and thankfully Roy thinks, she is not a bad looking woman for her age which is a little bonus while he works his way into her finances.

Betty is just happy to have someone to spend her golden years with.  She is willing to overlook the little things, like the mess that Roy makes just about every time he uses the bathroom, or how he disappears to take long walks when ever she is cleaning up around the house, and even how her grandson has a feeling that something about Roy isn’t quite on the up and up…

 

 

 

Words that come to mind:  Disconcerting, page turner, twisted.

Entering in to the pages of The Good Liar I felt I had an idea of what it was about and where it would go.

I was wrong.

While I encountered a story of deception and lies, I truly had no idea as to what length this would go in.  Roy is one of those people that ooze dishonesty.  He truly is a perfect unlikable character.  He has no qualms in who he hurts to achieve his goals and is one of those people who for the most part remain emotionless.  I am pretty sure there were many parts of this book I real with a scowl on my face.  Boo! Bad guy!  Boo!

But…

there is more to this story.

I found the book to be engaging.  I turned the pages quickly wondering where the story would go.  As the story unfolds many of the chapters take you back in time to Roy in previous years, in previous scams…. some of these chapters in the way they were written I found to be a bit choppy.  The time line was not always disclosed and especially in the earlier chapters as I was getting a feel for the read, I found it would take me a page or two into a chapter t get where this was taking place and when.  As I tend to like a faster paced read (mostly), there were parts of this book that felt as though it was more wordy than it needed to be.   That said, I still found The Good Liar to be worth my time.  It is the type of story that you hear about happening in real life; however I have never read any fiction based on this story line.

That, I found refreshing.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (February 2, 2016)

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to

spend time in a bit of a twisty turny world of Roy and Betty.

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Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson

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11-year-old Mira Able leads a hard life in Brooklyn.  Her father is absent, her mother may as well be.  She takes her frustrations out in ballet class where this fueled anger works in her favor.  When her skills get the attention and praise from an older gentleman Maurice, who frequents the ballet, Mira blossoms under the  attention and his desire to improve her future as a ballerina.  Soon Mira is doing everything Maurice asks of her despite the warnings she receives.

Years later, Mira now goes by the name of Kate, a young woman still battling the demons of her past.  Kate is up for review in her teaching job for sleeping with a student.  Kate starts to question decisions she has made in her life and feels the answers lie in her past, in that early world of ballet.

 

 

 

Does anyone remember the short-lived tv show Bunheads?  A fun show about a group of ballet students?  Yeah?

Well this is nothing like that.

Girl Through Glass has a delicious darkness to it.  It is well written, beautifully actually at times, but this is not a lighthearted story. Told in alternating chapters, as the reader we are slowly let into the what happened then…. that lead to the happenings now.  The journey unravels as the two stories work their towards one another.

As I often do when books are told in alternating perspectives…  I find myself leaning to  one story line over the other.  In this case it was young Mira’s story that drew me in the most wanting me to know what happens to this young girl and how our life decisions play out into our futures.

I found this book to be unique in its telling, definitely a book that will give you plenty to think about.

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  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (January 26, 2016)
  • Language: English

I found my way into this world of ballet thanks to TLC Book Tours

The Boy Who Loved Rain by Gerald Kelly

the boy who loved rain, Gerald Kelly, Book Journey, TLC Tours

David and Fiona have one son Colom.  Yet no matter what they do, Colum, now 14, acts out at school and is desensitized when it comes to any sort of discipline.  David, who is a Pastor is adamant that Colom receive any counseling through the Church and that no outside help be administered.  Fiona, who just wants to help Colom is not so sure her husband’s ways are right this time.

As Colom continues to strike out as school, and have nightmares about a drowning sister although he has no sister, the walls feel like they are closing in on this family. David becomes more and more distant from his son and Fiona finds no other solution but to take Colom and run seeking shelter through the kindness of a friend… hoping perhaps distance from his father and from the school pressures will help Colom sort through what he is going through.

but how much of what is happening is Colom, and how much is David and Fiona’s own creation?

 

 

The Boy Who Loved Rain is a powerful read.  I was unsure picking this book up what I was in for…would I experience the slow destruction of a boy like in Nineteen Minutes?  Would I find the cold calculations of a child like in We Need To Talk About Kevin?

As it turns out, no, The Boy Who Loved Rain is an entirely different type of book and one that I enjoyed thoroughly.  Written in an almost lyrical way I like how this story unfolds from a family to individuals and it felt true to life.  Broken people just trying to get it right.  The book also brings up great discussion questions and I could not help but think that this would make for a good group read.

This book is a thought-provoking read.  I enjoyed spending time with it very much.

 

 

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction; 1st New edition (January 1, 2015)

I was able to experience this journey with Colom thanks to TLC Book Tours

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My Father’s Wives by Mike Greenberg

Mike Greenberg, My Father's Wives, Book Journey, TLC Book Tours

Jonathon Sweetwater has a pretty wonderful life.  He has a good paying job, a beautiful wife, and two children he adores.  When he comes home early from work one afternoon… things suddenly look as thought they could change in ways that Jonathon never anticipated or wanted.

Now, Jonathon is holding on to a secret that is ripping him apart.  As he questions how his life has gone wrong, he is brought back to the memory of his father who left when he was 9 years old and proceeded to marry again 5 more times.  His father now having passed away, Jonathon knows he does not want to follow down the same path his father went when it came to women.  Jonathon decides that maybe now is the time to search out each of these past wives and find out more about the man who was his father, a man he hardly knew, and maybe at the same time answer questions about himself.

 

 

I first read author Mike Greenberg in his book, All You Could Ask For.  I have to say, for being a radio host for ESPN and ABC, the man can get in touch with great protagonists, both male and female.

In My Father’s Wives, I enjoyed the flow of this book about a man searching for answers to help him with his own life and his own marriage.  Clearly left with issues from his father’s departure from his life at such a young age, it was an interesting take to search out each of the wives. Once again, I am impressed on how well Mike Greenberg can write female characters.   Right along this story line is also Jonathan keeping up with an unusual boss, his desire to be with his family, and working out the proper steps to take in his marriage that may or may not be in jeopardy.

I really enjoyed this read.  It moved well from page to page and I had no trouble finishing this read in one sitting.  I was thoroughly engaged in what would happen and how it would all work out.  Mike Greenberg is an author I keep an eye on.  A quick and enjoyable read.

 

 

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow (January 20, 2015)

 

Thank you to TLC book tours for giving me the opportunity to read  and review another excellent book by Mike Greenberg

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The Vineyard by Michael Hurley

20130910_174722Holy cover LOVE!!!!!

 

Dorey Delano, Charlotte Harris, and Turner Graham used to be roommates in College at Smith ten years ago. Dorey is struggling with the possible undertaking of the family inheritance and legacy.  She invites her two college friends to join her at the seaside resort on Martha’s Vineyard for catching up with each other and rekindling their once strong friendship.  Dorey has no idea what baggage and agendas come with this invite; Dorey as well has her own things going on.  Each girl is carrying a weight from their current worlds. When a strange man comes into the scene, known only as “the fisherman”, he has an agenda… and it is going to change the girls in ways they would never imagine.

 

 

The Vineyard is filled with so much I enjoy in a good book!  Great character development, strong females, a little agenda, a little mystery… even crime.  The Vineyard’s synopsis was fully loaded with a great storyline for each of the three women even without the addition of the fisherman, but tossing him in the mix added another layer of “ooh…. what is going to happen now?”

I really enjoyed The Vineyard.  This is a book that has something for everyone.  Way to go author Michael Hurley in writing such an engaging read!  Take the time to pick up a copy of this gem!  I hope we will be hearing more from this author.

 

 

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ragbagger Press (November 25, 2014)
  • Language: English

 

I read this book for a TLC Book Tour.  Thank you TLC for the trip to the Vineyard!

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Early Decision by Lacy Crawford

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Anne is an admissions coach for students preparing to start the process of getting into the college of their choice.  Or, in some cases I should say their parents choice… This book is a fictional telling on the authors non fictional 15 years of being a college admissions coach, helping students (and parents) come to terms with that next step.

In Early Decision, Anne is starting another season of coaching as her students she has accepted line up from all walks, parents for the most part, eager to make sure their child has the best possible chance to get in the ever narrowing gates of admission to the big name colleges.

Hunter, a kind boy trying hard to reach his parents level of expectations for him, but really has his own dream of his future.  Sadie, the daughter of wealthy well-known parents who feels her future is all cut out for her no matter what she does.  William, a brilliant young man who is constantly dodging his father’s anger.  Alexis the overachiever from Minnesota (Minnesota!), and Christina who has everything it takes to succeed.. just not the means to do it.

As Anne works with each of these students as they write their first drafts of their college essays, she helps them realize who they really are and what they really want to say – not always to the parents approval.  Anne meets with the students and talks them through the possibilities as they continue to work on the application essay that will hopefully set them apart and provide that acceptance letter into the college of their choice; but not always.

As Anne works with this latest group of students she finds herself contemplating her own life.  Is this where she thought she would wind up?  Was this her big plan for after college… thirty is just around the corner for her and some how she feels like she has never taken the steps she is coaching the students to take, herself.

 

 

 

 

 

Early Decision is a look into the world of college acceptance and the students applying as well as the parents prodding anxiously behind them, in many cases as though the decision of acceptance defines them as parents as well.  Anne’s job comes with high expectations on her from all of the above.

I found Early Decision to be very interesting.  I, myself did not take the college route, and sometimes really wish I would have.  At the time of my own graduation, my mom had been raising me alone for years after my father’s early death due to an accidental fire, and my goal was to make my transition from High School to the real world, as easy on her as possible.  Now reading about how intense parents can be about the process was fascinating and a little scary all rolled into one.  In this book, you get a real taste of where the parents are with their dreams for their children – but you also get a real look at what the children want for themselves.

What is interesting is that author Lacy Crawford wrote this book based on her real life experience as a college admissions councilor.  While this book does not point out actual people – the results of this book is a combination of her years in this position and the tiger moms and the helicopter parents are all too real.

I enjoyed looking into this world of intense college application prep; a world I knew little about.  I felt for the students being pushed and prodded.  In some cases I felt for the parents as they wanted what was best for their child…. but mostly I felt for Anne, who had her work cut out for her between working with the students and battling the parents who were either too pushy, or too needy…

A wild look into the college side that I feel would be a great read for parents and students alike as they approach that time of college decision.  In fact, I think both the parents and the students should read this book before they start the process – hopefully giving each an insight into the other side and therefore taking on this step with a little more empathy for each other – and a little more understanding.

A fun and thought-provoking read.

 

 

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (August 26, 2014)
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to tag along this road to College applications and acceptance.  It was truly an interesting adventure in reading! 

 

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The Roses Underneath by C. F. Yetmen

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In 1945 a war-torn Germany struggles to get a foot hold on some sort of stability.  Anna Klein and her six-year-old daughter Amalia are among those struggling as well.  Separated from her husband for their own safety, Anna finds herself working for the US Army’s Monuments Men as they search for art and other stolen treasures.  When it is discovered that Anna speaks English, she is recruited as a translator for American Captain Henry Cooper, a laid back man who likes opportunities to bend the rules.  When a mysterious stash of art is found, secrets are created causing Anna to question where the truth really does lie and look closely at the secrets she herself keeps….

 

 

The Roses Underneath is one of those books that you want to read slowly and cherish as one would a favorite candy.  Savoring each word as it dissolves into the next.  Reading this book caused me to slow down and really take it all in, which is not always the case in my reading style.  I often find myself reading fast paced books that flow with activity and crackle with adrenaline.  I was pleased when I started this read and found that this was a book that I needed to take my time with.

I am careful when I choose to read a book that involves war.  I tend to become so engrossed in the heaviness of the subject that I usually choose to pass on these books.  Yet there was something that called to me about The Roses Underneath that caused me to take a chance on it and I am glad I did.  Anna was a protagonist that I found myself hoping for things to turn out well. 

I enjoyed this book, even if it did make me slow down and well… smell the roses. 🙂

The In Between Hours by Barbara Claypole White

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When bestselling author Will Shepard’s young son is killed in a tragic car accident, Will is left with a tremendous amount of grief that he can not seem to get out from under.  As Will’s aging father memory fades, Will uses his talent of writing to rewrite the truth.  Amazingly enough, the fictional version of Will’s life brings relief that he never expected. 

Hannah Linden rents a cottage next to where Will and his dad lives.  Hannah comes with her own cross to bear as she deals with her grown sons struggles.  As a holistic veterinarian  and healer, she uses her gifts to try to bring peace to Will and his dad’s lives, finding her own solace in putting her energies into someone else.

 

 

 

The In Between Hours is one of those books that just makes me feel warm inside.  I liked reading this book and perhaps, for a while, feeling like I too lived in the neighborhood and seen everything play our first hand as I watched Will, and his dad, and Hannah. 

I am especially impressed on what an additional layer to the book Will’s dad brought to the read.  While the book could have worked with the focus being on Will and Hannah, Will’s dad made me smile… he brings the icing on the cake, or in this case – the filling to an already engaging read. 

I enjoyed The In Between Hours and will think about this one for quite a while. 

TLC Book Tours

Thank you to TLC Book Tours for allowing me to spend time with a group of amazingly three dimensional characters!

 

 

 

I am at the end of the tour on this one – but please feel free to stop in and see what others though of this book:

Tuesday, December 31st: bookchickdi
Thursday, January 2nd: Bibliotica
Monday, January 6th: cupcake’s book cupboard
Tuesday, January 7th: Kritters Ramblings
Wednesday, January 8th: Tina’s Book Reviews
Thursday, January 9th: Chronicles …
Tuesday, January 14th: Becca Rowan
Wednesday, January 15th: From the TBR Pile
Friday, January 17th: Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, January 17th: Not in Jersey
Monday, January 20th: Staircase Wit
Tuesday, January 21st: Sweet Tea and Lollipops
Wednesday, January 22nd: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, January 24th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, January 27th: As I turn the pages
Tuesday, January 28th: Book Journey
Wednesday, January 29th: Found Between the Covers
Thursday, January 30th: Good Girl Gone Redneck