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Posts Tagged ‘Mel Robbins’

I DID it, dear reader! I reached my Goodreads goal of 50 books for the year when I finished reading Harvest Home. I am ecstatic! This is the first time I have ever reached my reading goal before 31 December. In addition, I was able to complete five books and three short stories in the month of September.

Nonfiction Selection

My nonfiction read for September was by Mel Robbins called The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage. The 5 second rule is a simple strategy that yields huge results. Robbins uses her own personal stories and testimonials through emails and social media posts she received from people from all walks of life to demonstate the effectiveness of this strategy. Personally, I am reaping the benefits from using the strategy in my everyday life, especially with taking risks in improv and stopping my EGO from managing me. Additionally, it has motivated me to exercise, to step out my comfort zone, and to complete tasks that have lingered a bit too long on my to-do list.

Basically, you count backwards from 5 and take action. According to Robbins, “When you start to count 5-4-3-2-1, it is the beginning of a chain reaction that not only awakens the prefrontal cortex, but also gets you ready to make that physical “initial huge push” that’s required to change” (106). This was an enjoyable 4-star read for me.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I read three middle-grade books in September. Ghost Beach was actually on my August TBR, but I ran out of time, so I carried it over. Juniper Berry has been on my bookcase for quite sometime and has autumn vibes, so I thought September was a marvelous month to finally read it. Since I am participating this fall in the #moremontgomerychallenge, I chose Anne of Avonlea for the “read an Anne book” spot on the bingo card. I had bought it right after reading Anne of Green Gables, so it worked out wonderfully to read it in September for the start of this challenge.

Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine is creepy, and I must admit, the scariest of the Goosebumps books I have read to date. Siblings, Jerry and Terri, are visiting a distant cousin and his wife in New England for the last month of the summer. The children’s excitement is short-lived when they discover a cave by the beach is haunted by a ghost. It is suspenseful with a twist I did not see coming. A haunting 4 stars for this spooky selection!

Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky is a terrific middle-grade tale of terror and temptation. Despite living in a beautiful mansion with her famous parents and her trusty sidekick Kitty, Juniper Berry is lonely as heck. She misses the life she once had with her parents, who were loving, kind, and always there for her. Now, they are miserable in spite of their fame and fortune and act as if Juniper does not exist. One stormy night, Juniper follows them into the woods and discovers the cause of their unhappy transformation. 4 stars for this entertaining and suspenseful story.

Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery is the next charming chapter in Anne Shirley’s life. Anne postpones attending Redmond College, so she can remain with Marilla on the farm and help her raise orphaned twins. Anne also takes a teaching position at the local school. We are introduced to new and interesting characters in the Avonlea community and amused by more of Anne’s adventures. This second installment was a delightful read and worthy of all 5 stars.

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

Harvest Home by Thomas Tryon is the perfect autumn read. It has all the fall feels with full fields of corn and festive autumn traditions set in a quaint New England town that harbors a sinister secret.

This beautifully written psychological horror novel takes its sweet time telling the story of Ned Constantine and his family’s move to the village of Cornwall Coombe. On the surface, the small farming town seem idyllic with its simple lifestyle, friendly faces, and a matriarch that welcomes the family wholeheartedly.

Once the family gets settled, Ned stumbles upon a mystery that had been buried, and no one in the town seems too interested in talking to him about it. Unfortunately, Ned’s curiousity is persistent, and he continues digging up the past. Unsettling moments are sprinkled throughout this slow burn, building up to an off-putting conclusion that has stuck with me since I completed it. I gave this horror gem 5 stars.

Year of King

Kelsi and I switched gears for this month and read three short stories from Stephen King’s Night Shift collection. All three stories have something to do with manual labor which was perfect for September with the celebration of Labor Day.

“Graveyard Shift” takes place at a textile factory in the small town of Gate Falls, Maine. John Hall, an aloof drifter, works the graveyard shift at the mill, running the picker machine. Warwick, his cruel foreman, decides that after 12 years, the rat-infested basement needs to be cleaned out.

So, he recruits a few of his workers, including John Hall, to complete the terrible task that leads to a disturbing discovery. This horror story was a 3-star read for me. Even though I enjoyed the creepy atmosphere, the rapacious rodents, and the men’s scary situation, I wanted more.

“The Mangler” takes place at an industrial laundry in a small American town. John Hunton, a local police officer, receives the call to investigate a gruesome accident involving a Hadley-Watson Model-6 Speed Ironer and Folder, also known as the mangler, at the Blue Ribbon Laundry. Unfortunately for Hunton and the employees of the laundry, more grisly deaths unfold surrounding the menacing machine. I gave this horror story 4 stars for being chilling, suspenseful, and macabre.

“The Lawnmower Man” takes place at the home of Harold Parkette. Harold takes pride in his manicured lawn until an unfortunate accident occurs while his neighbor’s son is cutting it. After almost a year of not cutting his grass, receiving lame lawn jokes from his neighbor, and spotting a woodchuck sitting happily in his backyard, he finally decides to hire someone to take care of his overgrown yard. That someone is the unusual lawnmower man from Pastoral Greenery and Outdoor Services. This horror story has mythological elements, humor, gore, and a bizarre twist which I loved, so I gave it 4 stars.

I wish I could tell you, dear reader, that the screen adaptations were as good as the short stories. I knew at some point our luck would run out because not all of Stephen King’s work translates well on the big screen. Although, Kelsi’s opinion of the films differs greatly from mine. She and I had a lively conversation about all three stories on September 25th, discussing the stories and their film adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

It’s October, which happens to be my favorite month of the year. I have chosen some spine-tingling selections to read in celebration of this spooky month. I am currently reading The Witches by Roald Dahl for #Read21in21. My book club selection for October is Kill Creek by Scott Thomas. Kelsi and I will be reading Needful Things for our Year of King project. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 06 November at 2:00 PM CT. Last but not least, my nonfiction selection this month is Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King edited by Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller. 

My sister Rachel and I are still buddy reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. This Wednesday evening we will be discussing Chapter 7, “Finding Who You Truly Are.” What an important and impactful chapter!

As usual, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in October. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.” ~ Ursula K. Le Guin

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July has come and gone while my reading life continues to thrive month after month. I was able to complete six books in the month of July which is AMAZING, considering one of them is a behemoth. IT by Stephen King is 1,138 pages long! Rereading it after so many years has been nostalgic and super satisfying. As of today, I am ten books ahead of schedule. At the rate I am going, I will reach my Goodreads goal of 50 books by the end of September. Awesomesauce!

Nonfiction Selection

My July nonfiction selection was The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins. I had been wanting to read a book by Mel Robbins for ages, so when the opportunity to read The High 5 Habit presented itself with my friend Kathryn and the members of her Live Healthy Team, I took it. Anyone struggling with self (self-worth, self-doubt, self-esteem, etc.) can benefit from reading this book. Giving a high 5 to someone else is easy, but when it comes time to high 5 ourselves, it becomes much harder. Why?

We deserve to encourage ourselves just as easily as we encourage others.Through personal stories, science-based research, and examples of real-life results, Robbins shows readers how to incorporate this simple but effective tool in their everyday lives. This book will definitely be a resource I will refer back to again and again. I high 5 this book with 5 stars.

#Read21in21 Challenge

I went a different route this month and read an entire middle school series about the Gaither Sisters written by Rita Williams-Garcia. Marvelous series! All three historical fiction books are narrated by the spirited 11-year-old Delphine Gaither and are incredibly refreshing. I truly hope Rita Williams-Garcia will write more adventures about this delightful trio in the future.

One Crazy Summer is the first book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern live in Brooklyn with their father and grandmother. Pa decides it is finally time for his daughters to spend a month during the summer in Oakland, California with their estranged mother Cecile, who abandoned them shortly after Fern was born. Set in the middle of the Black Panther Movement in 1968, the girls learn a thing or two about their mother, the Black Panther Movement, and themselves. This well-written middle school historical novel is heartfelt, honest, humorous, and so deserving of being a Newbery Honor Book. I fell in love with the characters, especially the sisters and their mother. It was easily a 5-star read for me.

P.S. Be Eleven is the second book in the Gaither Sisters series, and it did not disappoint. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are back in Brooklyn after spending an eventful month during the summer with their mother Cecile. This novel follows the girls through their school year, Pa’s girlfriend news, the unexpected return of their Uncle Darnell from the Vietnam War, and the Jackson 5. Delphine, now in 6th grade, deals with fitting in, friendship turmoil, and her feelings about Ellis Carter. I continue to enjoy reading about Delphine and her experiences during this pivotal time in history. Another 5-star read!

Gone Crazy in Alabama is the third and final book in the Gaither Sisters series. Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are sent to Alabama to visit Big Ma, their great grandmother, and Uncle Darnell for the summer. The girls quickly learn that the ways of the south are much different from their home back in Brooklyn or where their mother Cecile lives in Oakland. The girls discover a family feud, learn more about their family and cultural history, experience the power of forgiveness, and embrace the importance of family. 5 stars, ya’ll!

Chills, Thrills, & Kills Book Club

The atmospheric Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand is a wonderfully written novella with gothic horror vibes. The tale of the missing lead singer of Windhollow Faire, the summer he and his fellow band mates lived at Wylding Hall, is told in an interview style format with multiple viewpoints. The question on everyone’s mind is, what happened to shy, handsome Julian Blake? English folklore, musical elements, unreliable narrators, and the setting of an ancient country home and its mysterious surroundings create a delicious amalgamation of subtle horror. A bewitching 5-star read for me!

Year of King

For July, Kelsi and I tackled our most ambitious Stephen King selection to date. IT is one of my favorite King novels. It embodies horror elements that will frighten any reader because we are all afraid of something. Derry, Maine is the setting of this chilling tale about an evil entity that awakens every 27 years to wreak havoc on the residents of this small New England town. Seven children, who are viewed as losers among their peers, are drawn together and form an impenetrable bond which fuels their quest to seek out the murderous Pennywise and destroy it once and for all.

It should not come as a surprise that I gave this beautifully written coming-of-age story 5 stars. Well-developed characters, a terrifying clown, and a battle between good and evil make this a must-read for any Stephen King fan.

Additionally, IT translated remarkably well for both television and the big screen which is not always the case with King’s stories. Watching the screen adaptations of IT was a huge undertaking for Kelsi and me. We watched the 1990 television miniseries, the 2017 film, and the 2019 film. That calculates to roughly 500 minutes of screen time which I personally think was time well-spent. I thoroughly enjoyed all three adaptations.

Kesli and I had a stirring conversation about IT on August 7th, discussing the novel and all three movie adaptations. Dear reader, you can check out the recording on Kelsi’s YouTube channel (see below).

August is already in full swing, and I have some terrific selections picked out to read throughout this month. I am currently reading The Haunting of the Old Yellow House on Millard Road by D.A.L. for #Read21in21. My book club selection for August is What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher. Cujo is the novel Kelsi and I will be reading for Year of King. I think it is going to be a tough read because of content. We will have a live discussion about the novel and movie on Sunday, 28 August at 2:00 PM CT. I have chosen two nonfiction selections this month, Clean & Lean by Ian K. Smith, M.D. and A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle. My sister Rachel and I are both planning to read it which makes it our first buddy read together. It should be a fun experience, and I am looking forward to discussing it with her. Of course, I am looking forward to everything I have planned to read in August. To see my current book reviews or books I have read in the past, follow me on Goodreads at Katherine Loyacano. Happiness!

“You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.” ~ Paul Sweeney

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