• Guest Post by Lucy Adams: 10 Books That Will Change Your Mind

    Hey, it’s Briana! I’ve been running around like a madwoman lately, so today’s post is from a lovely lady I’ve been in contact with recently. Enjoy the post, and I’ll be back with a new one on Wednesday!

    Looking for the next book to put on your to-read list? Well, here are ten! What makes these books special is that they all have a great takeaway that will change the way you think, act, or perceive things.

    This list is perfect for both avid readers and those looking for something inspiring and useful. Let’s dive in along with Lucy Adams, a diligent buzz essay writer.

    The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

    Not a morning person? Think again. This book will change it all. Author Hal Elrod has his own amazing story of how he got started in finding a way to not just take every day for granted.

    It has been proven multiple times that waking up earlier and spending your first hour awake doing specific actions is extremely beneficial. The Miracle Morning provides an exact outline on how to do it.

    Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

    Although this book was written in 1937, it is one that will never fall behind in the times. It’s applicable to today and has inspired and influences many wealthy people and entrepreneurs. Follow what Hill says and you will experience success.

    1984 by George Orwell

    After reading this one, you’ll always have it in the back of your head. It’s a classic and an interesting story with a warning to citizens of what can happen if a government becomes too controlling. It’s something that should be kept in mind especially with all the potential surveillance technology nowadays.

    Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

    On a lighter note, we’ve included this incredibly popular fantasy series. Get through all the books (they’re big), and you’ll have experienced a journey like you’ve never experienced before. These books tell such a good story with amazing creativity that you will get lost in them and come back out in awe with a new perspective on imagination.

    The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

    Don’t scoff at this title. I know what you’re thinking: this is a book for children. It is, but we all need a reminder at times, especially as adults. You probably already know the message it teaches. The power of positive thinking is unbeatable. We all need to reread this one every once in awhile.

    The Five Love Languages by Gary D. Chapman

    Just as we are all unique, we all experience and feel love in different ways. This book describes the five different of ways we like to give and receive love. Each person prefers one or two, and for a successful relationship you need to know your partner’s. Also good for close relationships in general!

    The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

    This book has changed millions of lives. Yours is next! It’s been translated into thirty-five languages. What most people disregard is that it does take hard work to get to the point that Timothy Ferris writes about, but he is not shy about letting you know it.

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    This is the second (and last) young-adult genre book on our list, but also holds a well-deserved spot. It won a Newbery Medal, and also remains one of the most challenged books in the 1990s. It’s about dealing with many emotions in a seemingly perfect society. Check it out and you will be surprised how much it makes you think.

    How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    If you’re thinking this book it full of tips of how to control and manipulate people, you’ll be surprised. This wildly popular book will change your mindset. It will make you more popular and not only easy to work with, but the kind of person that people will want to work with. Increase your standing in people’s eyes by changing your own way of thinking with this book as a guide.

    Zen and the Art of Happiness by Chris Prentiss

    A personal favorite, this book is a short read that leaves you inspired and with tools to turn negative thoughts and happenings into positive ones. There are some truly great anecdotes inside that will make you see your own life in a different light. Plus, who doesn’t want to learn how to be happier?

    Well, that should get you started in the right direction! One of these, and probably more than one, has caught your eye. Don’t hesitate to read them. You’re only making yourself better!

    Lucy Adams is an essay writing expert from BuzzEssay. She’s a diligent woman who never misses a chance to cover an exciting topic related to blogging, writing, education, and a few more niches. Feel free to share your ideas with this diligent author and go ahead for a mutually beneficial collaboration.

  • On Making Time to Read (And Why It Matters)

    Photo credit: TheGiantVermin on Flickr
    I have a confession. I’m terrified to share this with you all, but I want to nonetheless.

    I haven’t been reading. Well, that’s not quite true–I’m reading a lot at work, since I’m an editor, and I’ve been reading some essays and articles and things of that nature. I just haven’t been reading fiction–not anything that’s published, not outside of work.

    I know that as a writer, I have to read often. Stephen King, one of my writing idols, said in his book On Writing, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

    According to King, reading helps you recognize the shape of good and bad prose. It helps you appreciate language and hunger to put magic down on the page. You can’t be a good writer if you’re not a good reader. Reading is the best thing you can to to improve your writing prowess.

    And I wholeheartedly agree with him–reading is important. As much as life gets in the way, I’m well aware that I make a lot of excuses. I do have time to read. But I often fill that time with Netflix or iPhone games or just wasting time on the Internet. I don’t put it toward furthering my writing career. I don’t use my free time as productively as I could.

    It should come as no surprise that I want to make a living from my writing. I want it to be my career. In order for me to realize that dream, I’m going to make every effort to improve as a writer. That means I have to learn to make better use of my time–which in turn means I have to make myself read more.

    Recently, I read a post by the wonderful Lucy Flint in which she confessed a similar struggle. Like me, she wants to make it a point to read more, concentrating her efforts on reading more fiction in order to improve her writing. So I’m coming clean, too. I want to read more. And I need you all to help hold me accountable to that.

    Also, that means I need more book recommendations. Feel free to leave some in the comments below!

    What are your tips for reading more? What are some books that you couldn’t put down?

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    .@brianawrites hasn’t been reading enough fiction, and she needs some advice. (Click to tweet)

  • Cover Reveal: KILLER POTENTIAL

    Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today’s post is going to be a little different. Today, I have the pleasure of revealing the cover for BookFish Books’ July 19 release, Killer Potential! I’m so excited to read this book, and I love the cover, too!
    Keep scrolling to see it.

    TA-DAH!

    Title: Killer Potential

    Author: After Brook Szymanski

    Publisher: BookFish Books

    Genre: YA Psychological Thriller

    Release Date: July 17, 2016

    About Killer Potential

    Seventeen-year-old Yvette Gibbs was just admitted to the hospital psych unit in handcuffs as the main suspect in a murder case, which she refuses to talk about.

    Drugs and depression claim her family—leaving Yvette to fight her own demons alone. Adopting the skill of master of passive-aggressive vengeance lands Yvette in the psych unit with no family support, unless she cooperates with her therapist to clear her name, also a convicted murderer.

    Yvette wants revenge on the world that taught her to be afraid, claimed her mother to depression, hid her father in a fog of job hopping, turned her brother to dealing drugs, and swallowed her sister whole, but to achieve this she must lie, manipulate, and most of all survive. Pitting her dead sister’s shady friend whom she fears against the man who reminded her she’s not immune to victimization, is her perfect solution to all life’s hassles, even if that means she ends up with blood on her hands. Until everything backfires.


    About Aften Brook Szymanski

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    Aften Brook Szymanski, at the age of five, once fell on her bum looking out a large picture window while eating a pickle and people laughed. She thought she was funny, life has never been the same. She’s obsessed with LEGOs, cozy reading nooks, and over-the-knee socks. A graduate of the College of Southern Idaho with an Associate of Arts degree, Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree, and the University of Utah with a Master of Education degree. Learning is more fun than testing, sometimes we have to endure both.

    She lives in a very cold Wyoming valley with her husband, three kids, and one unhappy cat, where they are being cryogenically preserved for all time—thanks to how cold it is.

    Find Aften Online

    Blog: http://aftenbrookszymanski.blogspot.com/

    Tumblr: http://aftenbrook.tumblr.com/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/aftenbrook

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aftenbrookszymanski/


    Preorder Killer Potential or Add it to your TBR!

    Goodreads

    Amazon Preorder

    There you have it, folks! It’s no secret that I love thrillers, and this is one I can’t wait to get my hands on. Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming review of it! Congratulations, Aften, and good luck with your release!

    What do you think about this cover? Are you excited to read the book?

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    Do you love thrillers? Check out the cover for Aften Szymanski’s new novel KILLER POTENTIAL! (Click to tweet)

  • Book Review: DISSONANCE by Mariella Hunt

    Book Review: DISSONANCE by Mariella Hunt
    Mariella Hunt is one of my dearest online friends. She and I met some time ago, but it’s only recently that we’ve begun talking and collaborating more often. When Hunt rereleased her debut YA urban fantasy novel Dissonance, she was kind enough to send me a paperback copy.

    I was even more excited to dive into this book when she told me she’s been working on the sequel. I’m not big into series (I know, I know), but this is one I can definitely see myself reading more of.

    Before I get to the review, here’s the Goodreads summary:

    Fifteen-year-old Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.

    When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met.

    Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her. The cure she needs is rare, requiring of him a difficult sacrifice. Allie soon suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll turn her world around.

    But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.

    First off, Dissonance is urban fantasy, which isn’t a genre I’ve read much of–although my novel Reflections is urban fantasy, too, so maybe I should read more in that genre… Anyway, although the story is urban fantasy, it was fairly easy for me to navigate the events and setting of the novel. My only issue with regards to worldbuilding is that there were a few places I found it difficult to follow along with the mythology. Hunt has clearly invested a great deal of time, thought, and effort into developing a cohesive magical system and environment for this novel, and this degree of consideration definitely shows. However, at times, the terminology and social hierarchy confused me.

    Nevertheless, I found the characters, plot, and the writing compelling. Dissonance is a strong debut, and as the first book in a series, promises some more exciting things from the author. As a bonus, this book also features a protagonist dealing with chronic illness, which is refreshing. If you’re looking for a good YA urban fantasy novel with likable characters, an engaging setting, and a memorable plot, I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a copy of Dissonance.

    What did you think of Dissonance? What book should I read next?

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    Do you like urban fantasy? Find out why @brianawrites enjoyed @mariellahunt’s debut urban fantasy novel DISSONANCE! (Click to tweet)

  • 7 Books I’ve Reread More Than Twice

    Some books are so good, they deserve a second look. For the most part, I only own books that I’ve reread at least once. They feel like an extension of my body somehow, like they’ve become a part of me that cannot be removed.
    For all the books I’ve reread, some are wonderful enough to reread more than twice. If you’re looking for a book recommendation, you’re in luck! Here are seven books I love that I’ve reread more than twice.

    7 Books I've Reread More Than Twice

    1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan, of lavish parties on Long Island at a time when The New York Times noted “gin was the national drink and sex the national obsession,” it is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

    2. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

    Winston Smith is a low-rung member of the Party, the ruling government of Oceania. He works in the Ministry of Truth, the Party’s propaganda arm, where he is in charge of revising history. He is but a small brick in the pyramid that is the Party, at the head of which stands Big Brother. Big Brother the infallible. Big Brother the all-powerful. In a totalitarian society, where individuality is suppressed and freedom of thought has its antithesis in the Thought Police, Winston finds respite in the company of Julia. Originality of thought awakens, love blossoms and hope is rekindled. But what they don’t know is that Big Brother is always watching…

    3. Phantom by Susan Kay

    This incredible portrait of Erik–the Phantom–recreates his entire life, from his survival as a child in a carnival freak show to his creative genius behind the Paris Opera House–and its labyrinthine world below–to his discovery of love.

    4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

    Orphaned, penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark, and in that instant, transforms his future. By morning, he’s landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. By nightfall, he’s in love. In an America made colourless by prohibition and the Depression, the circus is a refuge of sequins and sensuality. But behind the glamour lies a darker world, where both animals and men are dispensable. Where falling in love is the most dangerous act of all…

    5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

    A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel presents with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl’s virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction – at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful – and completely unforgettable.

    6. Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

    Libby Day was just seven years old when her evidence put her fifteen-year-old brother behind bars. Since then, she has been drifting. But when she is contacted by a group who are convinced of Ben’s innocence, Libby starts to ask questions she never dared to before. Was the voice she heard her brother’s? Ben was a misfit in their small town, but was he capable of murder? Are there secrets to uncover at the family farm or is Libby deluding herself because she wants her brother back? She begins to realise that everyone in her family had something to hide that day… especially Ben. Now, twenty-four years later, the truth is going to be even harder to find. Who did massacre the Day family?

    7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

    The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

    What do you think of these books? What are some books you’ve reread more than twice?

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    Looking for a good read? @brianawrites shares seven books she’s reread more than twice. (Click to tweet)