Friday, May 18, 2018

Minimal Lifestyle by Photis D. Mata

★★★
Minimal Lifestyle is a collection of research, ideas, and experiences Photis D. Mata has encountered while incorporating his minimalist philosophy into his life.

Minimal Lifestyle is a quick read. It took me a little under an hour to finish. It reads like an extended blog post. I found out later the author has a blog with the same name as the book.

The writing is clear and has a personable voice. The book is nicely organized and has a good flow as it transitions to the different topics and ideas. Some of the information may be familiar if you’ve already read blogs or books on the subject of minimalism.   

I enjoyed the parts where the author shared his personal experiences and thoughts. It was also nice to read the short experiences of other people who adapted the minimal lifestyle.

Minimal Lifestyle is a quick read with a nice collection of information on the benefits of a minimalism.

[Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads]   

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Healing With Kiryo by Tadashi Kanzawa

★★★
Tadashi Kanzawa rose to international fame with his television demonstrations of ki mastery. He used his abilities on different types of animals to guide them into a relaxed peaceful state. In his book Healing With Kiryo he reviews these experiences with added insight. Further expanding on how ki energy can be practiced by anyone and used for healing.

I was excited when I came across this book. It’s been a few years since I first saw videos of Tadashi Kanzawa but they definitely left a lasting impression. I highly recommend looking them up on youtube if you haven’t seen them already.

Healing With Kiryo is a pretty insightful book. I really enjoyed the chapters where he went over his different television appearances, teachings and experiences healing. He comes across as humble and down to earth with the belief that anyone can develop and use ki energy.

The book dedicates a lot of time to legitimize and explain ki energy in a biological context. If you’re new to the subject of energy healing this book may be a good introduction. The information he shares is often related to the method developed from teaching his students.

The book includes a lot of simple charts and visuals. It also includes beginner ki development exercises that can be done alone, in pairs, or in groups. I liked that he paid extra attention to explaining the type of sensations that might be experienced.

I found the information a bit overwhelming at times. I was familiar with a lot of the ideas but there was a lot of new vocabulary that made it a bit difficult to adjust to. The author thoroughly explains concepts as simply and concise as possible. I thought he did a good job of explaining ideas that are based on sensations that often have to be experienced first hand to understand.

Healing With Kiryo is a great introduction to ki development and practice.

[Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads]    

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Benefit Of The Doubt by Neal Griffin

★★★★★
Ben Sawyer is a police officer that has returned to his small hometown disgraced and alienated after his hot temper landed him on headlines. He quickly finds himself part of the top story again when his wife is accused of murder. Desperate to find the truth he follows every possible angle only to find his situation is just a small part of an even bigger web of conspiracies and lies. Benefit Of The Doubt is the first book in The Newberg Mystery Series.

I loved reading this book! The author is definitely among my favorites now. I can’t wait to read more in the series.

The story has a thorough knowledge in the culture of law enforcement and police procedures. I liked how the story emphasized them and made it pivotal to the plot.

The writing is fluid and all the details made it so immersive. I looked forward to reading it each day but was also nervous to read on at the same time.

The characters were so vivid and distinct. I loved how each point of view was charged with emotion. I enjoyed how flawed the characters were and I liked how each one was able to get their perspective across.

Some of the scenes were violent and brutal. They were so raw and emotional it was often unnerving to feel so intimate with the point of view.

I enjoyed how ethics and justice were addressed in the story and through the characters. There was no clear right or wrong with all the characters making questionable decisions and actions

Benefit Of The Doubt was a great mystery read and I look forward to reading the other books in the series.

Related Posts:
A Voice From The Field (Newberg Mystery, #2) by Neal Griffin

Friday, April 20, 2018

A Mind To Kill by John Nicholl

★★★
Rebecca will never forgive the man that destroyed her family and stole her childhood innocence. Each sexual predator she kills is her gift to society. DI Gravel is called back from holiday when body parts are found washed ashore. Getting back on a case is just what he needs to recover from everything that happened on his last high profile case. A Mind To Kill is the second book in the DI Gravel series.

A Mind To Kill was an okay read. It took me a while to get into the story. The omniscient writing and dense lengthy dialogue was often overwhelming. I initially wasn’t sure which characters to focus on or care for.

Pacing was slow in the beginning. The scenes probably would have felt more impactful if I read the first book though. I felt the book had a good stand alone quality despite being the second in the series.

The story focused a lot on police procedures. I enjoyed the pace and organization it lent the story. This was my first exposure to the UK police structure so it was fun to see the added cultural details.

The main characters grew on me gradually. Enough for me to consider reading other books in the series. They were all flawed but I couldn't help but root for them at different points throughout the story.

The story tackled some tough issues with unflinching honesty. The kill scenes were pretty brutal and gave the killer’s perspective a grisly quality that made it stand out.

Tension was a bit odd since both the killer and detective viewpoints were given time and focus. The final confrontation felt abrupt and premature. I really wanted to see more of the pursuit and evasion between the two sides. However, I enjoyed the ending and final impression of the story.

A Mind To Kill is an interesting revenge story with a questionable vigilante.

[Disclaimer: I won a copy of this book through Goodreads First Reads.]

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Voice From The Field by Neal Griffin

★★★★★
Tia Suarez is desperate to get back in the field. Scrutiny from her coworkers and her own mounting doubts makes staying on the sidelines unbearable. Tia’s first assignment back was suppose to be a gradual reentry but she quickly finds herself in a perilous position with a kidnapped victim slipping through her grasp. When her case is not only dropped but ignored she must question not only herself but those around her. A Voice From The Field is the second book in The Newberg Mystery Series.

I picked this book up on a whim and was not prepared for everything it delivered. A Voice From The Field had so many story elements I love to come across when reading. It had me excitedly looking up what else the author has written.

This is the second book in The Newberg Mystery Series. I read this book first and felt it was a decent stand alone book. The background details made me very curious about the first book and I plan to read it soon. There was also a fondness for established characters that I think returning readers will enjoy.

The story incorporates mature subject matter. Sex trafficking and exploitation play a big role in the story. The scenes are not gratuitous or overly graphic but I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone easily offended.

There was so much about the story that I enjoyed. The writing had a great flow. The characterization and police procedural details gave the story an immersive quality.

I loved how flawed the characters were. It made the ethical themes seem more authentic and dynamic.

There were so many twists to the story. I often found myself nervously looking forward to reading the book each day.

A Voice From The Field was a great read and I look forward to reading other books in the series.

Related Posts: 
Benefit Of The Doubt (Newberg Mystery, #1) by Neal Griffin

Saturday, April 7, 2018

The Prisoner Of Hell Gate by Dana I. Wolff

★★
Karalee and her friends cruise New York’s east river enjoying the last few days of summer. Their daring adventurous spirit attracts them to North Brother Island. A place with a dark haunting history that Karalee knows all too well about. As they explore what remains of the abandoned hospital they soon learn that many deadly secrets still remain.

I was disappointed reading The Prisoner of Hell Gate. The cover and summary made me think it was going to be a book I would love.

The prose was awkward with lots of unnecessary exposition. Pacing was slow and I kept reading hoping the story would pick up eventually.

The story focused a lot on the location and historical events. You could definitely feel the author’s enthusiasm in retelling history. However the way it was delivered was often just large info dumps.

Characterization was poor, unmemorable and felt a bit forced at times. A few of the friends I couldn’t even tell apart. It gave them a two dimensional quality that had me comparing them to stereotypical horror fodder.

I felt like the story didn’t really pick up until the very end. The last few chapters were fast paced and intense. There were a few scenes I loved and they delivered the horror I was waiting for.

The ending was so abrupt it literally made me laugh. I would call it lazy but at that point I was just glad to be finished with the book.

The story had a lot of potential. It made me wish it was reworked more to make it even better. There were so many moments I wish were expanded upon or smoothed out.

The Prisoner of Hell Gate was an okay read. There were parts of it I thought were interesting. I finished reading the book without abandoning it. However, it just left me wanting more from it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

★★★
Midnight is home to unusual residents with secrets and ties to the supernatural. The small town wakes up to find questionable new neighbors and the media disturbing the peace they've just gotten accustomed too. With the full moon getting closer having so many visitors in town becomes even more dangerous. Day Shift is the second book in the Midnight, Texas trilogy.

It’s been a while since I read the first book and watched the first season of the television series. The two kind of meshed in my memory so it was a bit odd adjusting to what information the characters knew and didn’t know yet.

I enjoyed reading the story. It was fun catching up with all the characters since the last book. They all have such distinct and memorable personalities. I’m impressed the story was able to include them all without becoming confusing.
 
I didn’t find the central mystery very interesting. It seemed kind of bland in comparison to the mystery from the first book. It was really my already established fondness for the characters that kept me reading. I enjoyed reading their interactions and liked how their personalities directed their plans and actions.

I enjoyed the addition of new characters. It was also fun to see a bit of crossover from the author’s Sookie Stackhouse series. It made me feel a bit nostalgic and want to reread them.

Overall I thought the story was a good read. I enjoyed revisiting the world and learning more about the characters. The leisurely pace and stakes of the mystery made it feel like a filler though.

Related Posts:
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Friday, January 12, 2018

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

★★★★✩
Hester believes her future is doomed to be cut short if she ever falls in love. She researches her family’s past hoping to find a solution only to uncover a tragic story that entangles her family and town history with folklore from the sea.

I enjoyed reading Monstrous Beauty far more than I anticipated. The writing was beautiful with imagery that was vivid and immersive. It really enhanced the seaside location and historical elements.

The story alternates each chapter between the present and past. It took me a while to get used to but I found it easy to follow. The writing is very rich and I found myself reading a bit slower to fully enjoy it. It made me a bit impatient at times especially when I felt the momentum close to revealing something new.

I loved how the story incorporated mermaid folklore. The way they were portrayed captured the idea of something both beautiful and deadly.

At times the story was darker than I expected. The characters are all wonderfully written with their own stories adding to the richness of the tale. Death, love and tragedy were common themes that were explored. The dark undertones gave a poetic quality to the overall story.

Monstrous Beauty is a beautiful dark story with a vivid depiction of mermaids and history.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Grain Of Truth by V.J. Chambers

★★★✩✩
Elke Lawrence has been shipped off to head the newly formed Conviction Review Unit. A 25 year old case with questionable evidence seems like the easy win they need to get good PR. However, bringing the case back to light only attracts more negative and deadly attention.

Grain of Truth presents an in depth mystery that highlights procedural parts of law in an interesting way. I’m not very familiar with this genre so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

The beginning was a bit slow for me. The initial case didn’t quite grab my interest. The characters were what really kept me reading. They were all so different and flawed. I enjoyed getting to learn more about them and seeing how they interacted.

The second part of the book picked up the pace and amped up the stakes considerably. I looked forward to reading it each day. The mystery took on a whole new level with the added suspense.

The ending ties up everything nicely without any lingering questions. The story didn’t come across as overly dark, violent, or graphic to me. These are two things I always take into consideration when looking at mystery books.

I enjoyed reading Grain of Truth and had fun watching the characters sift through the past to find the truth.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

★★★★✩
Midnight is a small Texan town with one stoplight keeping it alive. The residents are a close knit group of people with secrets and ties to the supernatural. When a body shows up and threatens the peace they’ve established they must come together to find the person responsible. Midnight Crossroad is the first book in the Midnight, Texas trilogy.

I decided to read Midnight Crossroad after getting into the TV show adaptation and getting impatient between episodes. It was fun to read the source material and take notice of what was changed or left out.

It took me a while to get used to the prose initially. The short multi layered descriptions were a bit jagged and felt odd to read. It eventually evened out after a few chapters. From which point it was an engaging and fast paced story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. It made me even more fond of the characters I had already grew to like. The characters were all interesting and I loved that the story highlighted and included all of them without becoming confusing.

Though I enjoyed the television series there were so many moments and scenes in the book I wish were included. The book has respectively less drama and the supernatural elements are focused on less. Despite the differences it’s a solid story that comes across more convincing because the magical aspects are woven in gradually.

I felt the author had a great grasp of telling a murder mystery. The added supernatural elements seemed a bit subdued but added a fun interesting twist.

Midnight Crossroad is a fun quick read that blends elements of urban fantasy with an engaging murder mystery.

Related Posts:
Day Shift (Midnight Texas, #2) by Charlaine Harris