Sunday, November 17, 2019

Book Reviews - Just Like A Circus and Stuff

So, these reviews are much more than what the title indicates, but y'all, when there's a chance to use a Britney lyric, you always have to take it.

Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Psychological Injuries by Guy Winch was an interesting reflective piece. The book focuses on giving techniques for addressing common emotional concerns. To do that, the author first names that these emotions are going to happen and normalizes that experience. With that, he believes we should build techniques to address these similar to those we have for basic first aid needs. The book is divided into seven chapters/emotions - rejection, loneliness, loss and trauma, guilt, rumination, failure, and low self-esteem. Each section is then a deep dive into what this emotion is and how it shows up. He then offers exercises to self-assess and address the concern. These are simple and easy to execute which is ideal for someone experiencing one of these emotions. I read this book not going through any of this stuff at present (but will undoubtedly down the road), and I could definitely see this as a resource I would consult when I needed some help navigating. I really appreciated the perspective and reflective opportunities offered up in this one.

Read this book if - You want something to help you through "stuff" and/or want to build your emotional coping toolkit.

All the Little Lights by Jamie McGuire was just like WHOA - in a good way. I knew nothing about this book prior to reading other than a friend reached out to tell me I had to check it out and that it had a wild ending. So, I dove right in! What's great about this is that you don't know what genre you're reading, and that's what makes the deception so good! When you begin reading it has YA romance vibes, and those vibes do continue throughout, but really you've got one heckuva twisted thriller on your hands. The story focuses on Elliot and Catherine who find a connection as kids, but then Elliot has to leave town. He returns years later, and they have lots of unresolved aspects of their relationship. In addition to navigating what they are, Elliot is the star of the football team while Catherine is busy helping her mom with a bed and breakfast - and it needs a lot of help, in addition to having quite an array of guests. This book is about Elliot and Catherine, but more than that, there are secrets bubbling below the surface. You know something isn't right, and you wonder how this connects to the main characters. That's what makes this such a pageturner y'all! Again, this was one of those twists you just don't see coming on so many levels. If you need an unexpected thriller in your life, this is absolutely going to be your jam.

Read this book if - You want a book with the kind of twists that will make your jaw literally drop. You want a book overflowing with all the thrills and secrets.

Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave was a heavy read. I have to offer that up first because that influences how I felt about it. The book takes place during World War II in London. The story centers on Mary who wants to help with the war efforts. She's a little shocked that role is being a teacher, but she goes into the role at full force. With this, she connects with Tom, another administrator. Then, there's Tom's best friend Alastair who enlists in the war. Mary, Tom and Alastair find their way into a love triangle, and the story goes from there. What I liked about this was that it covered dimensions of the war that aren't often focused on. Much of Mary's teaching is for students who are disregarded due to their identities and not given the same type of safety or quality of care. This is something that isn't often named, and I appreciated this new dimension. In general, the emotions covered and angles were just different. That said, this was also a sad book. I won't spoil what went down, but this is one that weighed on me as I read. That's bound to happen given the topic, but worth noting this one has a mood about it.

Read this book if - You want historical fiction that will get up in your feels. You want a story built around a familiar happening with new dimensions.

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley is a book that's been on my to read list forever. I was excited when I showed up on NetGalley, so that I could finally check it out. The circus is something that always mesmerizes me, and I was thrilled to check out this take on it. Micah's dying grandpa tells him about an amazing circus he attended as a kid. Now he wants Micah to have this experience to reconnect with the Man Who Bends Light. Micah sets out on a quest not knowing how he's ever going to find the circus and perhaps a cure for his grandpa with this man. The story is wonderfully told, and it tapped right into my imagination as I visualized the circus in my head! This is a story built on believing in magic and how that is something that can leave us and/or stay with us. I really liked how it was a quest grounded in commentary of how we choose to see the world.

Read this book if - You want a book that's full of magic. You want something that makes you think about believing.

Until next time!