Book Moment: Getting things right versus the experience

So, it’s almost midnight and again I find myself in that world between the real world and dreamland, dozing off while trying to read my new read when I come across this scene that wakes me up. I go from minutes away from dreamland and now I’m . . . not wide-awake per se, but it has my brain in overdrive.

He chews his slice halfway through before saying, “Maybe the point is to just sit and be still and not fight it so much.” At my blank look, he says, “Don’t try to be good at it.”

I shut the binder. “What’s the point of doing something if you’re not trying to get good at it?”

He gives me a funny look. “To just experience it.”

They Possibility of Now by Kim Culberton

It struck a chord with me. Getting it right or experiencing it? And I understand the point of the quote is “getting good at it” but I thinking getting it right can apply to this too. I think there are exceptions to everything but it feels like the standard focuses more on the first. Getting it right. It reminds me of a conversation I recently had. We were talking about shame and what a powerful emotion it is. It was mentioned that it often comes from wanting to fit in or to be “normal” or to not make any waves, so to speak. We want to be accepted so we develop behaviors accordingly. I had it confused with guilt. However, it was clarified the difference that guilt is when we have injured someone else while shame is how we feel about ourselves.

And what do guilt and shame have to do with getting it right and experience? — you might ask. 

Excellent question. No idea, except that need, perhaps that want, to get it right. From this perspective, getting it right means doing what everyone else is doing. Getting it right means acceptance. In this case, you’re overlooking experience.  

And I think this scene struck a chord with me because the main character was trying to meditate, which she sucked at because she couldn’t quiet her mind. The how-to articles on meditation didn’t tell her how she could quiet her mind so she insists that it missed a step. I can relate. I have the darndest time trying to quiet my mind all. the. time. And that includes meditation because I’ve tried that. I couldn’t help but laugh reading this part because that’s exactly what I would think. Not out loud or even be aware that I’m thinking it. I would (coughs have) googled “meditation” and “clear your mind” and even “mindfulness” because I’ve recently been told that I have a hard time staying in the present (which didn’t exactly come as a surprise to me but it was nice to have confirmation that I am, indeed, “checking out” from time to time).

This was a reality check for me. That maybe the point of meditation or quieting your mind doesn’t mean void of thought. Maybe the point is to experience it. To let your body go with it. Work your way to a quiet mind, you know? And I think I heard somewhere (oh! I remember. It was at a workshop for work. On mindfulness, now that I think about it) that that’s exactly right. That mindfulness doesn’t necessarily mean “no thoughts” but an awareness of what’s going on in the here and now. 

Needless to say, I’m enjoying this book and I’m looking forward to finishing it. 

W-o-o-sha. W-o-o-sha. 

**Release Blitz** Regrets by Bella J

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REGRET
by
BELLA J
RELEASE BLITZ
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When it comes to women, Hunter Keaton has rules.
Those rules ensure his life stays uncomplicated and controlled. Control is what he craves, what he needs to keep his inner demons quiet.

Private investigator by day, his life is nothing but a pit of regret, devoid of any and every emotion.

Hired to find an elusive runaway—a wild, hot-headed woman with sinfully enticing curves—Hunter’s self-control is pushed to the limit. Scarlet Woods challenges him in ways that have him wanting to break his own damn rules.

But she has secrets—secrets he’s determined to uncover. He just didn’t count on getting his own past dragged into what turns out to already be a deadly game of lies.

This is not a love story. This is not a tale of how love conquers all.

This is a story of how two people equally shattered by their pasts realize that two broken souls can’t make a whole.

PURCHASE LINKS:
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ofEMOP
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2puFz2U
Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2pxh2HZ

Add to your Goodreads TBR List:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34700216-regret

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EXCERPT:

Prologue

July 1, 2009

The minute Hunter jumped off his motorcycle, he threw his helmet to the ground and stood frozen on the spot.

This isn’t real. It can’t be real.

What seemed like hundreds of red and blue lights flashed in the background. Paramedics and rescue services rushed past him yelling out orders, frantically trying to get the scene under control. While keeping his eyes set on what was happening in front of him, he slowly made his way closer, hearing nothing but the sound of his entire world slowly falling, heading straight to the darkest pits of hell.

Every molecule inside his body was praying, pleading to whatever God there was to let him just wake up.

Wake the fuck up!

Inside he was screaming, shouting, crying, shrieking, going crazy—yet not a single word or sound escaped him while he just kept on walking toward his worst fucking nightmare.

The smell of gas, burned rubber, and…death filled his nostrils, but he just kept putting one foot in front of the other while his chest started to ache, yet his heart continued to hope.

The closer he got, the clearer he could see the angelic blue eyes that made him believe in magic. In his mind he saw the eyes that had become the life in his veins, the pulse that kept his heart beating. Those blues were his hope, his heaven…his fucking magic in a world filled with nothing but greed, loss, and pain.

“Sir? Sir, you need to move.”

Hunter stopped as a man moved in front of him, yet he didn’t take his eyes off the view that could only be described as the end of the fucking world. His world anyway. But there was still hope, there was still that sliver of a chance that what he thought he saw wasn’t real at all.

“Sir, please. You need to get behind the line now!”

He couldn’t move, not even if he wanted to. He needed to be sure, needed to know if his life had come to an end. If his world had collapsed into nothing but a big black hole.

He needed to know—now!

With a hard shove, he pushed the man in front of him to the side and rushed forward, unable to slow down. He ran as fast as he could, pushing every goddamn person out of his way.

Every brick that had been laid on his path to happiness during the past few months crumbled beneath his feet into nothing but dust of regret and pain. His heart was no longer beating, it was thrashing violently against his ribs while he struggled to take a breath.

Someone came from the side and grabbed him around his shoulders, pulling him back, but he fought with every ounce of strength he had to get free. A second pair of arms grabbed him around his waist, trying to pull him down to the ground. Hunter wrestled with whoever was trying to keep him from finding out what he desperately needed to know, all the while he never took his eyes off the nightmare in front of him. With a violent jerk he was brought down to the ground, slammed onto the gravel.

“I need to know!”

He repeated that same damn sentence a hundred times…a thousand times. “Please God! Please God! I need to fucking know!”

He didn’t give up. He fought the arms keeping him down with all he had in him.

Then something glinted in the sun, grabbing his attention, and for a moment he stilled.

“Beat the odds.” He heard that voice like it was coming from right next to him.

When he narrowed his eyes and saw the necklace laying in the road next to the wreckage, he stopped fighting. Every muscle stopped working, his heartbeat pounding in his throat. Like a disease, ice spread through every bone of his body while hope drained from his soul. Everything around him faded into nothing…except for the necklace that finally confirmed what he had known since the second he arrived.

“Beat the odds, Hunter.”

And that was the moment Hunter Keaton ceased to exist.

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Regret Release Blitz Giveaway!!!

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One winner will win a $10 Amazon Gift Card, as well as 20 Ebooks from authors that include Natasha Knight, J.L Drake, Logan Chance, Leslie McAdam, Kane Caldwell, and so many more!
For a chance to win this awesome giveaway, go to Bella J’s Facebook page and check out the pinned post!
REGRET PROMO

You can find Bella J here:
Website: www.bellajromance.weebly.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/BellaJ1983
Twitter: www.twitter.com/BellaJ_Author

Join her Facebook group – The Brazen Lounge
https://www.facebook.com/groups/215876072193407
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Movie 411: Mr. Right

Directed by:

Paco Cabezas (Penny Dreadful)

Screenplay by:

Max Landis (Victor Frankenstein)

Rated: 

R

Release Date: 

April 2016

Genre: 

Action, Rom-Com

The Hook:

Honestly, I realized this DVD was getting checked out a lot and decided to check it out. For whatever reason, I didn’t really read what it was about prior to hitting play.

The Review

Okay, as I mentioned, I went into this one blindfolded. Mostly. When I read the blurb on Netflix, “A girl falls for the “perfect” guy, who happens to have a very fatal flaw: he’s a hitman …,” I couldn’t not watch it. The premise seems similar to Grosse Point Blank, but not exactly, you know? And I love John Cusack in that movie (well, most of his movies). And the story on that one was entertaining. So, yep. Decided to give it a shot. And Anna Kendrick hasn’t let me down.

The Plot . . .

All right. So I mentioned to plot, or at least the blurb, and that really says it all. Martha McKay has just gone through a bad break up. It seems like she has a bad habit of picking the wrong guys and she realizes this. It’s your basic rom-com plot. One of the standards anyway. On her way home, she stops into a quick mart and that’s when Mr. Right sees her and makes his introduction. Flirty banter ensues, an invitation to get some drinks, there’s dancing and drinking, and immediately crashing out as soon as she/they gets back to her place. The start of an unconventional, sort of relationship is underway when she finds out her perfect guy is a hitman for hire.

Like I said before, your typical rom-com plot. It’s just so hilarious that in this case the flaw of said perfect guy is that he kills people for a living. What is also hilarious is that it’s a comedy. I like it. It’s different from your standard romcoms.  And really, you have romance and comedy and action rolled into one. It’s a deadly combination for someone who loves action and loves a good romcom. Kudos in my book for sure.

. . . and Presentation

 

There’s a certain balance that needs to be had when you’re dealing with a shoot-em up kind of movie. The right mixture of comic relief tied in with moving the story along tied in with the shoot-em up part can be tricky to pull off. It wasn’t a problem in this film. I liked the way the story unfolded and at the pace in which it unfolds. There was just one part for me that seemed to drag just a teensy bit for me and that was the succession of scenes directly following Martha’s break up. Just a teensy bit, mind you. Dialogue and deliver smoothed this over for me.  To me, dialogue is key in any type of moving picture entertainment and this one meets that standard. It’s witty and delivered well by both Sam Rockwell (Mr. Right) and Anna Kendrick (Martha). They did such a good job. The chemistry didn’t seem forced. Add to it great the great side characters of Tim Roth (Hopper) and RZA (Shotgun Steve) and you’ve got a pretty good movie. Truthfully, RZA’s part was small when compared to the other bad guys–James Ransone (Von Cartigan), Anson Mount (Richard Cartigan), and Michael Eklund–but his character did make the heavy shoot-em up scenes comical.

The Verdict

I don’t think I’d add this to my library. Don’t get me wrong. I love this movie. I know I’d definitely watch it again. But I don’t think I’d watch it enough to justify adding it to my collection. It is a really good movie to watch at least once. It’s funny, it’s interesting, it has some action, some romance. Win-win if you’re asking “should I watch it?”

 

Photo Credit: Google Play

Nonfic Feature – January: Mastermind by Maria Konnikova

From the jacket:

No fictional character is more renowned for is powers of thought and observation than Sherlock Holmes. But is his extraordinary intellect merely a gift of fiction or can we learn to cultivate these abilities ourselves to improve our lives at work and home?

We can, says psychologist and journalist Maria Konnikova, and in Mastermind she shows us how. Beginning with the “brain attic”–Holmes’s metaphor for how we store information and organize knowledge–Konnikova unpacks the mental strategies that lead to clearer thinking and deeper insights. Drawing on twenty-first-century neuroscience and psychology, Mastermind explores Holmes’s unique methods of ever-present mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction. In doing so, it shows how each of us, with some self-awareness and a little practice, can employ these same methods to sharpen our perceptions, solve difficult problems, and enhance our creative powers.

For Holmes aficionados and casual readers alike, Konnikova reveals how the world’s most keen-eyed detective can serve as an unparalleled guide to upgrading the mind. At once a fascinating lesson in psychology and a tour through Holmes’s most entertaining cases, Mastermind is a master class in elevating our thinking to the highest level.

Looking forward to this because . . .

Sherlock Holmes! But of course, you knew that.

I actually found this one while googling “how to be like Sherlock Holmes” (which stemmed from a Google search for “how to be like Mozzie in White Collar” because that’s what information junkies like to do. We research stuff) and I stumbled upon this article on PsychologyToday.com. It mentioned two books on Sherlock Holmes, the other being The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics by James F. Obrien (and though this sounds really interesting, and I’m not being sarcastic, Konnikova’s book is more in line with what interests me), along with eight strategies to be more like him. I skimmed over the strategies because my mind couldn’t let go of looking into Konnikova’s book.

Which brings me to . . .

Page 46. Chapter two of a 4-part book.

And I’m still intrigued.

Konnikova is doing a really good job comparing Sherlock’s thinking, a fictional character, to our default way of thinking, which is very real. She puts Sherlock’s thinking and methods into current research and facts and you can see reason in her comparisons. It’s making sense and that is always exciting since I’m actually being taught something. And what makes this even better is she demonstrates her points by walking us through Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories of Sherlock and Watson. Since I’m only 46 pages in, Konnikova has only started one case so far, but it’s enough to keep me going.

Snippets of what captured my interest in reading this far:

” […] never mistaken mindlessness for mindfulness […]” 

“At any given moment, you only thinking you know what you know. But what you really know is what you can recall.” 

“If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill off as we remembered nothing.” (Konnikova quoting William James)

 

 

Picture Credit: MariaKonnikova.com

Now Featuring: Non-fictional Reads

Looking back on past posts and thinking about all of my good intentions for 2017, I realized that I haven’t reviewed non-fictional reads as much as I read them. Or skim them. Because I’ve skimmed through a lot. I think it’s partly because non-fictional reads are denser than fictional reads so it either takes me much longer to read (sometimes over a year or two and this is from cover to cover, not jumping around). It’s a challenge to read a non-fictional read for fun while reading textbooks for my classes.

But there have been a few good reads and I want to give them a shout out, especially when the author has done a great job in keeping my interest and teaching me something new or opening my mind to a different perspective.

So . . .

in efforts to both keep me on top of my non-fiction TBR pile as well as sending a shout out to non-fictional reads, I’ve decided to showcase a non-fictional read throughout the month. This way, I’ll feel obligated to read the book because I’ve committed to posting about it.

I’m not sure how feasible this will be for me, but there you have it. Another intention.

And I’m looking forward to making good on this intention!Now

Biblio Sneak Peek: The Art and Craft of Hand Lettering

Saturdays are usually when I make a trip the local library (but don’t you work in a library? To which I’ll reply with “And?”) and today was no different. I did have a purpose, though, to hunt down a book like The Arts and Crafts of Hand Lettering. Like anyone who is looking to learn new things, or review old things, you hunt down a book. Or books. 

Of course there’s the internet, but what fun is that? 

Anyway, so I’ve been trying to spruce up my stationery. I’ll be entering the third year of getting serious on letter-writing (now that I’m back on track health-wise. Hopefully). And I feel so bad because some of my pen pals make such wonderful stationery things. Like they make their own envelopes and have, like, fancy paper. Or just pretty paper with cute or fun designs. And then you have me, replying on computer paper with blue ink and maybe a sticker or two. Lame! 

I’m good with words and stuff, but arts and crafts? Not one of my strengths.

Hence the book on hand lettering. I figure the least I can do is make my letters pretty. 

And this book is a good place to start. As with most non-fiction reads, it’s for information and wether the book was able to answer your question, teach you new things, or teach how to do things better.

I’m looking forward to browsing this book in hopes to pick up some tips and maybe a few ideas on making pretty letters.

Wish me luck!