Review | The Guardian Stones by Eric Reed

The Guardian Stones

 

Title:Β The Guardian Stones
Author:Β Eric Reed
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publishing date: 5th January, 2016
Pages: 260

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

941 Britain: Children are vanishing from the village. Is it the powers of an ancient stone circle at work, or a modern predator? In mid-1941, children evacuated to the remote Shropshire village of Noddweir to escape the Blitz begin to vanish. It was not uncommon for city children faced with rural rigors to run away. But when retired American professor Edwin Carpenter, pursuing his study of standing stones, visits the village and discovers bloody clothing in the forest, it is clear there is a more sinister explanation. The village constable is away on military duty so the investigation falls to his daughter Grace. Some villagers see the hand of German infiltrators bent on terror. The superstitious, mindful of the prehistoric stone circle gazing down on Noddweir, are convinced malevolent supernatural powers are at work. And Edwin, determined to help Grace find whatever predator is in play, runs into widespread resentment over America’s refusal to enter the war. This atmospheric mystery will appeal to readers of Rennie Airth, Maureen Jennings, and both Ann Cleeves and Ann Granger.


My Take:

The premise of this book is very interesting. I liked the historical aspect of the book and the setting was interesting. The descriptive parts were well written. πŸ˜€

The main characters are likable, the supporting characters are well thought out too. All part of the plan. πŸ˜‰ What I didn’t like about the character introductions was the attention to details. I kept getting confused about how old a certain character was and that kept me from fully paying attention.

The mystery isn’t much of a mystery, it’s still there but not as much as I would have liked. It had a horror aspect and can be categorized into horror. Some scenes had this chilling air leading to the end and those were the interesting reading bits. πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

This was an okay read for me. It wasn’t gripping enough to hold my attention, my attention kept wandering from the book. I put down the book many times and picked it back up because I still wanted to know how it ended. It was a good thing that it keeps you intrigued for the end so that you can’t put it down. πŸ˜›


Why would I pick it up?

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For an interest evoking read. πŸ˜€

Review | Dark Turns by Cate Holahan

Dark Turns

 

Title:Β Dark Turns
Author:Β Cate Holahan
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publishing date: 10th November, 2015
Pages: 336

My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Nia Washington is an incredibly talented ballerina. She fought her way up from the streets and was nearing the pinnacle of her profession when an injury and a broken heart derailed her career. Taking a temporary job at an elite boarding school was supposed to give her time to nurse both body and soul. It was supposed to be a safe place to launch a triumphant comeback. It is anything but.

Shortly after she arrives at the beautiful lakeside campus, she discovers the body of a murdered student, and her life takes a truly dark turn. It’s not long before she is drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with a ruthless killer. And Nia isn’t the only target. She must use all of her street smarts to protect her dancers, save a wrongfully accused student, and rescue the man she loves.

A stunning and suspenseful tale of passion and betrayal, Cate Holahan’s Dark Turns will take readers deep into the mind of a murderer and the woman who must put an end to the killing.


My Take:

This is a gripping read. I was always interested in Ballet, not as something to learn but as something to watch. I always wondered how painful dancing on your toes would be so never dreamed of being a ballet dancer yet was enticed by how graceful the dancers looked.

Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-00-53-1Having the touch of ballet actually drew me to the book. The cover and synopsis already had my attention but the ballet aspect made me grab the book. I would have read it anyways. I love mystery and thrillers. ❀ πŸ˜›

 

Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-03-56-1A nice touch, actually a smart move, was naming the chapters after ballet moves and starting the chapters with instructions of the said moves and the moves resonating with the chapters was quiet clever. πŸ˜€

The author created such interesting characters, it’s hard not to love them. Aubrey is such a well written character, she was the best character in the book, despite all the evilness, she is an enjoyable character. Nia is a bit naive, being a dancer herself she ought to know the competition between dancers, the power struggle but she doesn’t seem to.Screenshot_2017-06-13-14-02-45-1

This book seems to have a lot going on- career ending injury, murder, pedophilia, betrayal, deception, jealousy, love, hate, you name it. None of them seemed forced and made the story what it is. It was a quick read for me, I read it in one sitting because the book didn’t bore me even once. ❀

Though a bit predictable, this was a very interesting read. The mystery isn’t that much of a mystery, the suspense didn’t hold up till the end, nothing shocking but a decent read. If you are looking for something challenging then this might not be the book for you otherwise you are sure to enjoy a light mystery read. πŸ˜‰ Β It had its unique elements and those bode well with the story making it more likable. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€


Why would I pick it up?

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For a fast paced, interesting read.

Review | The Happiness Effect by Donna Freitas

The Happiness Effect: How Social Media Is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost

 

Title: The Happiness Effect
Author: Donna Freitas
Genre: Non Fiction
Publisher:Β Oxford University Press, USA

Publishing date: 1st February, 2017
Pages: 368

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Sexting. Cyberbullying. Narcissism. Social media has become the dominant force in young people’s lives, and each day seems to bring another shocking tale of private pictures getting into the wrong hands, or a lament that young people feel compelled to share their each and every thought with the entire world.

Have smartphones and social media created a generation of self-obsessed egomaniacs?

Absolutely not, Donna Freitas argues in this provocative book. And, she says, these alarmist fears are drawing attention away from the real issues that young adults are facing.

Drawing on a large-scale survey and interviews with students on thirteen college campuses, Freitas finds that what young people are overwhelmingly concerned with–what they really want to talk about–is happiness. They face enormous pressure to look perfect online–not just happy, but blissful, ecstatic, and fabulously successful. Unable to achieve this impossible standard, they are anxious about letting the less-than-perfect parts of themselves become public. Far from wanting to share everything, they are brutally selective when it comes to curating their personal profiles, and worry obsessively that they might unwittingly post something that could come back to haunt them later in life. Through candid conversations with young people from diverse backgrounds, Freitas reveals how even the most well-adjusted individuals can be stricken by self-doubt when they compare their experiences with the vast collective utopia that they see online. And sometimes, as on anonymous platforms like Yik Yak, what they see instead is a depressing cesspool of racism and misogyny. Yet young people are also extremely attached to their smartphones and apps, which sometimes bring them great pleasure. It is very much a love-hate relationship.

While much of the public’s attention has been focused on headline-grabbing stories, the everyday struggles and joys of young people have remained under the radar. Freitas brings their feelings to the fore, in the words of young people themselves. The Happiness Effect is an eye-opening window into their first-hand experiences of social media and its impact on them.


My Take:

The synopsis already talks a lot about what’s in the book, so I am going to skip that part and focus on how this book turned out.

This book is a result of a lot of research and with that the author has done a good job of presenting us with her research.I loved reading the interview parts because you can see from where the author is coming from, what actually she focused on. She talks about the conclusion she drew from the research.

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One of my problems with research based books that focus on a single topic is that there is a lot of repetitiveness and this book is no exception. Reading the same thing again and again in different forms can be boring and that’s what I found some parts to be.

It sure is insightful on how some of the kids these day feel, focus on “some” because the large percentage of people I know in person don’t resonate with the idea of this book because these things like being jealous of other people’s life, wanting to appear happy and successful, wanting to appear perfect, etc has been a part of many people’s emotions prior to the existence of social media, social media is just another way for them to be all out about how they feel. With social media it just gets easy for them to detect it. It’s nothing that I haven’t read about before, so it was an okay read for me.


Why would I pick it up?

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For the social media approval cravers, to make them read and understand.

Review | Anything for a Vote by Joseph Cummins

Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns

Title: Anything for a Vote
Author: Joseph Cummins
Genre: Non Fiction, Politics
Publisher: Quirk Books

Publishing date: 27th October, 2015
Pages: 304

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

A History of Mud-Slinging, Character Assassination, And Other Election Strategies
Γ‚
Today’s political pundits express shock and disappointment when candidates resort to negative campaigning. But history reveals that smear campaigns are as American as apple pie. Anything for a Vote is an illustrated look at 200-plus years of dirty tricks and bad behavior in presidential elections, from George Washington to Barack Obama and John McCain. Let the name-calling begin!
Γ‚
     ‒  1836: Congressman Davy Crockett accuses candidate Martin Van Buren of secretly wearing women’s clothing: β€œHe is laced up in corsets!”
     ‒  1864: Presidential candidate George McClellan describes his opponent, Abraham Lincoln, as β€œnothing more than a well-meaning baboon!”
     ‒  1960: Former president Harry Truman advises voters that β€œif you vote for Richard Nixon, you ought to go to hell!”
Γ‚
Full of sleazy anecdotes from every presidential election in United States history, Anything for a Vote is a valuable reminder that history does repeat itself, that lessons can be learned from the past (though they usually aren’t), and that our most famous presidents are not above reproach when it comes to the dirtiest game of allÒ€”political campaigning.


My Take:

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I am not into politics, this isn’t even about my country’s politics, the only reason I picked this book up was to diversify my reading. It’s safe to say that I do not regret my decision. Phew… what a relief! πŸ˜›

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This book bode well with me because of the light weight writing, the information wasn’t just dumped on you, it was molded into quite summarized chapters. The flow of the book was easy going and each chapter was thoroughly thought out. It was presented in kind of a story fashion which made it an easy read for me.

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All the details were simplified in order to be understood by everyone. I feel like this is an unbiased writing when it comes to politics. If you read this book, you will get a fair idea of the election scene in the US upto 2012, though many of us believe it’s the same around the globe.

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It’s not exactly the best source material for any one election in particular but will provide you with a fair idea of what happened. The illustrations, quotes, and the writing style added to the politics made for an interesting read.

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Why would I pick it up?

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For an easy political read.

 

Review | A Naturalist Goes Fishing by James McClintock

A Naturalist Goes Fishing: Casting in Fragile Waters from the Gulf of Mexico to New Zealand's South Island

 

Title:Β A Naturalist Goes Fishing
Author:Β James McClintock
Genre: Non Fiction, Sports
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publishing date: 27th October, 2015
Pages: 272

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

In the tradition of fishing classics, A Naturalist Goes Fishing combines elements of the triumph between fisher and fish, humor and wit, and a passionate concern for the natural environment.

James McClintock takes us to some of the most breathtaking waters the world has to offer while capturing the drama and serendipity in the beloved sport of fishing. We follow him and his fishing buddies and professional guides, as he fishes off the marshy barrier islands of Louisiana, teeming with life but also ravaged by recent disasters like the Deepwater Horizon spill. We travel to the remote waters of New Zealand’s Stewart Island, where the commercial fishing industry is fast disappearing; fish for gigantic Antarctic toothfish through a drilled ice hole at McMurdo Station; and scout for spotted bass on Alabama’s Cahaba River, which has the highest diversity of fresh water fish in North America. As we take this global journey, we see how sea level rise, erosion, pollution, water acidification, and overfishing each cause damage.

This strikingly beautiful narrative is a must read for anglers and nature lovers alike.


My Take:

This book makes the “reading takes you places” come true. πŸ˜€ This one book will take you to 9 fishing trips in 9 different places, if you are anything like me and haven’t been to even one, this is the book for you. πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

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It has a lot of ecological and conservation information like description of the fish species, characteristics of their natural habitat, the problems arising from the change of the ecosystem, etc . An informative read is always a YES!

All the information can seem overwhelming at times but it is still enjoyable if you don’t stress over it. Not only does the author provide you with information about the fishes and their habitat, he also explains the effects of climate changes and other problems, and has dedicated a complete chapter to inform about the conservation of fishes and their habitats.

I loved the little touch of fish pictures! ❀ ❀ Screenshot_2017-06-12-21-43-52-1


Why would I pick it up?

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For a virtual fishing trip. πŸ˜›

Review | Compassion is the Key to Everything by Alexandra Chauran

Compassion Is the Key to Everything: Find Your Own Path

 

Title:Β Compassion is the Key to Everything
Author:Β Alexandra Chauran
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help
Publisher:Β Llewellyn Publications

Publishing date: 8th January, 2016
Pages: 240

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

*e-copy received from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*


Synopsis:

Transform the way you interact with the world around you using Compassion is the Key to Everything, a practical, nondenominational book on discovering and exemplifying your own idea of what it means to be a compassionate person. Alexandra Chauran provides a guide to creating your personal code of ethics and integrating compassion into your life and community.

Explore your life’s purpose, nurture a peaceful existence, and strengthen your relationships with this book’s guidance on finding your own path. And unlike other books or spiritual programs that espouse specific diets or purchasing choices, Compassion is the Key to Everything provides insights that are adaptable to any lifestyle. Through exercises, meditations, and more, you’ll learn to stop judging yourself and others and start making the world a better place.


My Take:

Look how soothing the cover is. ❀ One of the reasons why I was drawn to the book. πŸ˜› πŸ˜›

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Screenshot_2017-06-12-22-00-23-1One of the things that I liked about this book was that that it places equal importance of showing compassion to others as well as oneself. People stress over how we conduct ourselves with others but how we conduct ourselves is often overlooked. The author emphasis enough about understanding oneself, being compassionate and staying away from self harm.

This book is divided into 5 main chapters that cover all that is to cover with respect to compassion.

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Screenshot_2017-06-12-22-12-45-1This book delves into how compassion, empathy, sympathy, kindness are all important virtues. In a broader sense they are one and the same, if there’s one of these qualities in you, the other finds the way. The exact definitions make them different and that is what is talked about in the book and how to achieve is delved into.

This book talks about how to get along with others while not being hard on yourselves. It includes suggestions, exercises, helpful tips, along with the understanding of the topic.

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It talks about the importance of finding your life’s purpose and how you should find it. It takes about Karma and Will, exercises for them, their effects and meaning.

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It talks about creating your own game plan for a thoughtful lifestyle. It talks about what morality means to us and how it is defined by our culture and our upbringing. It talks about how striking a balance in life is hard and how to deal with unintentional harm.

Everyone wants peace in their lives. This book covers the steps along the path to a peaceful existence. Surrendering pride is one of the big steps.Β Kindness is a virtue and becoming a beacon of kindness for others is also covered in this book.

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The book covers the topic in detail with a lot of sub topics, studies, quotes, mnemonics, exercises, meditation exercises, etc. It is a good read and will keep you thinking about life and your conduct towards life. πŸ˜€


Why would I pick it up?

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For a thoughtful read. πŸ˜€