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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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9 10, 2012

Review: Monkey Mind by Daniel Smith

By | October 9th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Kathie Smith

Monkey Mind is the true account of Daniel Smith’s battle with anxiety in his own words. Smith is quick to tell the reader that this is not a self-help book and will not provide the answers for anyone suffering with anxiety; that is not its purpose. What Monkey Mind will do is provide a truly descriptive inside explanation of anxiety. Daniel holds nothing back in order to save his ego. He is brutally honest about the problems and mistakes he made while driven by his anxiety and he is remarkably open with the embarrassments and agony related to his condition.

Smith’s account is a serious look at a serious issue that has been debilitating for him at times. His writing is peppered with medical facts, therapeutic concepts and his particularly quick wit. He opens by explaining the process

2 08, 2012

Review: The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

By | August 2nd, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Mathematics/Science, Nonfiction, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , , , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Dan Ariely, author of The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, discusses the multitude of situations in which people are the most likely to cheat or be dishonest in their dealings with other people. He explains that being dishonest occurs at every relationship level, in every business organization or industry and in every aspect of human life. According to the studies, people are more likely to lie or cheat others when they are emotionally exhausted or when the person can gain the most benefit personally from perpetuating the deception on others.

The book is an interesting amalgamation on why we are dishonest: from why we buy knock off watches to why people who are overpaid don’t return the money to the rightful owner – and the person’s internal reasoning for their dishonest actions. Apparently, social scientists have done tons

23 07, 2012

Review: Perfect Chaos by Linea & Cinda Johnson

By | July 23rd, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , |7 Comments


Reviewed by Jill Elizabeth

The title really does say it all. The chaos at hand is the madness (quite literally) of bipolar disorder.

Perfect Chaos is told in two voices. Linea has bipolar disorder; Cinda is her mother. Reading about Linea’s battles with unidentifiable and inexplicable bouts of depression and feelings of pointlessness, about her struggle for diagnosis and treatment is heart-wrenching. Reading about Cinda watching Linea spiral out of control and then picking her up and carrying her (metaphorically and physically) when she literally couldn’t find the strength or the will to live is almost more so.

The story is presented chronologically, detailing the slide Linea’s health takes as she transitions from childhood to adolescence and then early adulthood, when the most severe symptoms presented themselves. Eventually, she devolves from a bright, talented young woman with the world at her feet into

24 03, 2012

Review: Get Married This Year by Dr. Janet Blair Page

By | March 24th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Psychology & Counseling, Relationships|Tags: , |5 Comments


Reviewed by Jessi Buchmann

Don’t let the title Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do” throw you off of this book. It’s not just about getting hitched. If you are looking for ways to figure yourself out, discover your short comings when it comes to dating, and figure out why you don’t pick the ‘right’ partners then this book is for you. Being a single dating gal, I recognize that dating has almost become a sport and choosing the wrong potential dates has become a joke–at least among my friends. This book describes ways to avoid dating pitfalls, while keeping a positive attitude and maintaining the course without discouragement.

Dr. Janet Blair Page outlines how to find the right partnership by getting to know yourself and figuring out what you are ‘really’ looking for in a relationship. The book is

21 03, 2012

Review: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

By | March 21st, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Psychology & Counseling, Self-Help|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

The Power of Habit is amazing as it proves that any habit can be changed or manipulated to our advantage by mastering the cues, i.e. the behaviors that make us do a habit in the first place. The book provides guidance on recognizing these habits, becoming sensitive to how they develop, and making decisions on whether they should be changed. It then offers advice on how to change a specific habit for a lifetime.

All habits begin with a cue – this tells us we are repeating a behavior. Then there is an opportunity to develop a routine around the behavior (which is hopefully a wanted, positive or sought after habit). It follows that a reward is given to reinforce a behavior. In this way, if we are sensitive to the cues and routines, we can work to

3 03, 2012

Review: After the Diagnosis by Julian Seifter, MD with Betsy Seifter, PhD

By | March 3rd, 2012|Categories: Disorders & Diseases, Health, Mind, & Body, Personal Health, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , |2 Comments


Reviewed by Krista Castner

My mother has been struggling with a chronic illness, and I thought that this book might provide some tips or tools to help her focus on something other than her diagnosis. Dr. Julian Seifter writes from experience since he has had diabetes for years, and works with patients struggling with renal disease. I thought that After the Diagnosis gave some practical insights for moving beyond the diagnosis of a chronic illness and back into the mainstream of life. It’s not about ignoring the diagnosis, or becoming excessively focused on it; the key is to acknowledge where you are and move forward with the things that are in your power to change or affect.

Dr. Seifter observes, “In the course of my long career, I’ve seen many people battle their illnesses, and I’ve come to see that each person

11 02, 2012

Review: Quiet by Susan Cain

By | February 11th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Psychology & Counseling, Self-Help, Social Sciences|Tags: |8 Comments


Reviewed by F. Scott

Quiet, by lawyer-turned-consultant Susan Cain, is a good antidote to what I call our BS society. In short, she shows that it is okay to be short with your words to the world and others around you.

Our society forces everyone in it to be an extrovert—and if you’re not, you’re just too weird to be liked, hired, or kissed. We learn this from our early days in school when the point is to be socially adept and get along with others. Cain correctly points to the “politically progressive roots” of this phenomenon in our society. However, she doesn’t really nail or name the ultimate culprit: John Dewey. Democracy demands that we socialize kids, not really teach them anything or make them think very deeply, Dewey basically said.

I always like to refer to that scene in To

28 01, 2012

Review: Breakthrough by Shea Vaughn

By | January 28th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Personal Health, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , |3 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Breakthrough by Shea Vaughn (yes, she is actor Vince Vaughn’s mother) is fittingly dedicated to the breakthroughs that allow us to find the most relevant and important aspects of our lives. These breakthroughs include living each day in the present (leaving the past behind) and finding self-fulfillment in each day.

Vaughn focuses on a mind and body connection, and incorporates meditation and lessons on becoming more aware of self to live a happier life. The first half of the book offers advice on how to slow down and become more sensitive to movement and thought that we experience every day. The middle part of the book discusses the five principles of well-being (commitment, perseverance, self-control, integrity and love). The last sections offer photos of the author performing several exercise routines, discuss aging and show ways to apply these

26 01, 2012

Review: Living with Depression by Deborah Serani

By | January 26th, 2012|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Personal Health, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Sara Drake

Living with Depression should be read by anyone with depression or anyone who cares about someone with depression. I wanted to say that up front as that thought kept going through my head as I read through this great synopsis of a common mental illness. I have long looked for a resource that so clearly lays out the basics and offers good advice.

Deborah Serani begins with a touching description of her own battles with depression. I found myself holding my breath as I read about her plans for suicide, waiting to see what happens next. Yes, I knew that she clearly lived through it to write the book but I could not help getting sucked into the story! Her personal view throughout the book keeps it from reading like an academic text book. Instead, reading it feels

10 12, 2011

Review: Dignity by Donna Hicks Ph.D

By | December 10th, 2011|Categories: Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Personal Health, Psychology, Psychology & Counseling, Relationships, Social Sciences|Tags: , , , , , , , |4 Comments


Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

Donna Hicks, Ph.D. is an expert on relationships and managing professional conflicts. She develops conflict resolution workshops around the world to show participants how to improve their relationships with each other by becoming more sensitive to the dignity of others.

In her book, Dignity, Hicks describes the essential elements of dignity, which show the readers how to honor it in themselves and in others. She then discusses the ways we inadvertently or intentionally violate the dignity of others. The last section of the book shows how to utilize the power of dignity to manage and improve relationships.

Hicks does an exemplary job of explaining how the concept of preserving dignity in ourselves and others shapes our lives. It is true that we will remember when someone else causes us to feel our dignity has been assaulted. At those times,