Tag: 3 stars

Other Words for Smoke

Author: Sarah Maria Griffin
Published: March 12, 2019
352 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

When the house at the end of the lane burned down, none of the townspeople knew what happened. A tragedy, they called it. Poor Rita Frost and her ward, Bevan, lost to the flames. Only Mae and Rossa, Rita’s niece and nephew, know what happened that fateful summer.

Only they know about the owl in the wall, the uncanny cat, the dark powers that devour love and fear. Only they know about the trials of loving someone who longs for power, for freedom, for magic. Only they know what brought the house tumbling down around them. And they’ll never, ever breathe a word.

Kim’s Review:

I don’t think I got this book. I liked elements within the story and it did hold my attention, but I didn’t get it. This is one of those symbolistic, allegorical, gotta be deep in order to understand kinda books. The plot, at face value, was interesting and unique. It kept me guessing and the twist at the end did take me by surprise. The characters were intriguing and I was puzzled by them . . . And that’s kind of an odd experience for me, because most of them were actually rather simple.

It’s definitely a thoughtful book with a beautiful cover, the problem is that I thought a lot but I still didn’t understand the overall message. And it’s so sad because I was so excited to read this book and the cover really is gorgeous! Plus, the illustrations in the book are stunning. So I can’t recommend this book to everyone, but I think a few people might like it. This is one of those books that I feel really bad for not giving a higher rating, because I think it does deserve praise . . . Just from someone who got it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Batman: Nightwalker

Author: Marie Lu
Published: January 2, 2018
272 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Kim’s Review:

I was so disappointed in this book and it made me sad. We are 1 for 2 on the DC Icon series so far. I loved Wonder Woman: Warbringer, not so much Batman: Nightwalker. My biggest issue was that this was not a Batman story, so it shouldn’t be called one. Batman has a very set timeline, Wonder Woman and Superman can be played with a little more since they have inborn super powers. You can’t do that with Batman. So this was not a Batman story. My other big problem is that, although this story was interesting, it could have been about anyone.

Marie Lu is an excellent story teller, we all know how much Jessica and I loved Warcross. But throwing Bruce Wayne into any old story doesn’t work for me. Batman is a detective, some of his greatest stories are based on his ability to solve mysteries and crimes in concise, genius, Sherlock Holmes type ways. It felt like everything just happened to Bruce. He never seems to know anything until someone told him. The story itself was good, I liked the plot and the twist, so thankfully it wasn’t a total loss. But this is not a DC story, it’s not a Batman story, therefore, I have to give it such a low rating. And believe me, it hurts! I’m not gonna go so far as to say that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, I think teen boys would enjoy this book. I just can’t say that I liked it.

Kim’s review of Wonder Woman: Warbringer is here.
Kim’s review of Warcross is here.
Jessica’s review of Warcross is here.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US: Batman: Nightwalker is currently $1.99 for Kindle.
Amazon UK

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365 Ways to Beat Stress/ 365 Ways to Find Peace

Today I am reviewing two similar books, both from the same Publisher: Watkins Publishing.  Both of these books are released next week, April 16th.  I received e-arc’s via NetGalley. They both have gorgeous covers, which is what caught my attention to these books!

The Books:
365 Ways to Beat Stress
365 Ways to Find Peace


365 Ways to Beat Stress: How to Relax and Find Perfect Calm
Editor: Adam Gordon
To Be Published: April 16, 2019
224 pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 11-14, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars

Book Description:

No other book offers so many easy-to-use and diverse stress-relief techniques in a uniquely attractive gift package.

With a different technique or tip for each day of the year, no other book offers such a wide range of ways to release stress and anxiety, all set in an attractive illustrated design that will make dipping in for inspiration a joy. All the practices are effective yet also easy to follow, even if you have never tried them before, and range from energy techniques such as simple shiatsu, to quick stress fixes such as visualizing a blue bubble, to methods of life simplification such as avoiding a news overload and rationing your evenings out, to inspiring visualizations such as imagining yourself as the sky or as a lotus floating on water. This is one of the first two publications in a new 365 series from Watkins, showcasing easy, accessible and effective approaches to dealing with our demanding modern lives. Readers are free to work through the book in any order they like, either using the chapter headings to deal with aspects that they feel need particular attention (for example, home, work, relationships, mind and spirit, or stress and emotions), flicking through at random or selecting ideas in chronological order. There is no need to subscribe to any particular belief, lifestyle or long-term practice; this is simply a collection of brilliantly effective ideas that together have the potential to transform lives.

Jessica’s Review

365 Ways to Beat Stress is exactly what it sounds like: Suggestions to try and ‘beat’ the various stressors in your life.  There are different sections in this brief book that focus on various parts of life. Some of those sections include:

Mornings
Quick Fixes
Positive Change
Mind and Spirit
Home
Work

This book can be read as quickly or slowly as you want.  You can read whole sections at once or focus on one day at a time (There are 365 ways, so you have one a day for a whole year!).

For me personally, some sections worked better than others.  While some of the ‘ways’ seemed like they could cause stress in the beginning, but ultimately end up relaxing (learn to knit) some I just did not see feasible as a reducer for stress (Learn ASL/ a foreign language/ join a choir/ walk to work).

There are some good suggestions for ways to beat stress, some you could do on vacation at the beach!

We are all different and have our own unique stressors.  The various ways to beat stress  might work for me, but may not work for you and vice-versa. This is overall a decent read that could help you with reducing stress in some way. You should find something that will work for you in this book.

Special thanks to Watkins Publishing for sending me an e-arc copy to read and review via NetGalley.

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


365 Ways to Find Peace: Meditations & Inspirations
Editor: Marcus Braybrooke

To Be Published: April 16, 2019
224 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Date Read: January 24, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

No other book contains such a wide range of accessible, effective and inspiring self-calming techniques, drawn from traditions and literature from around the world, both secular and religious.

With a different meditation or inspiration for each day of the year, this is a wonderfully inspiring collection that will open readers’ hearts and mind and show them the way to peace and contentment whatever their mood or situation. A fresh, attractive design featuring sympathetic line drawings adds to the appeal of this gift package. Author Marcus Braybrooke has drawn upon poetry and prose, sacred and secular, from all around the world and from all ages, from the Upanishads and the Tao Te Ching to the speeches of Mahatma Gandhi and the great 19th and 20th-century poets such as Walt Whitman, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wallace Stevens and Seamus Heaney.

The inspirations and meditations are arranged thematically, following a structure that reflects the idea of love radiating outward – from self-esteem, the acknowledge of spirit within oneself; through love for family and friends; through love for humankind in general; to love for the One, the spiritual essence that animates all existence. Readers can choose to follow this order, or dip into the book at random, or select an area that they feel particularly drawn to work on. Containing the wisdom of all the world’s great spiritual traditions, this is a book that will appeal to people of all faiths, as well as to those who believe in spiritual values without subscribing to a particular religion or even belief in a divinity.

Jessica’s Review:

365 Ways to Find Peace is not a book on techniques as the book description suggests.  It is a book of 365 quotes from people throughout time and the world.  Each ‘way’ has the quote, who said the quote, the year of their birth and death, and where they are from.

The quotes are in different sections which include:
The Centre of Being
The Inner Circle of Love
The Outer Circle of Spirit

This book can be read as quickly or slowly as you want.  You can read it in the groupings or focus on one quote a day.  This one was not really for me as I was expecting a different book- one that give various ways to find inner peace (like 365 Ways to Beat Stress did). I did not want to read a book of quotes.  Because of that, this one missed the mark for me.

Special thanks to Watkins Publishing for sending me an e-arc copy to read and review via NetGalley.

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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