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Review: A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman

A Really Good Day by Ayelet WaldmanAyelet Waldman has spent many years and dollars in search of a good day. She is smart, successful – a bestselling author and a former federal public defender — and suffers from a mood disorder. She is not depressed to incapacitation, or in need of hospitalization, but she is far from happy. She is easily irritated, prone to dark moods or anxiety, and productive in bursts. And after years of therapy, supplements, medication, and meditation, she stumbled upon a controversial approach to managing her moods – microdosing LSD.

In “A Really Good Day,” Waldman walks the reader through her month-long experiment with LSD. She takes a microdose –  1/10th of a dose a person hoping for hallucinations would take. One day on, two days off, and she faithfully records her condition each day: mood, any conflict, sleep, pain, work etc.

Review: Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle

I know this shouldn’t matter, but – this novel really has a beautiful cover. In fact, you should feel free to judge this book by its cover. Like the cover, the unsettling, slightly distorted novel inside draws you in for a closer look.

Jeremy’s life is stalled in late 1990’s Nevada (Ne-vay-duh), Iowa. He works at the local Video Hut lending, shelving, and rewinding VHS tapes. He knows he should be looking for something closer to a career, but Video Hut suits him for now. He brings movies home to watch over simple dinners with his widower father, the mother’s death in a car accident several years before a shared sadness they endure together quietly.

When a customer reports a video contains scenes from a different movie, Jeremy thinks little of it, setting he damaged movie aside for return. When a second customer reports a similar problem with a different

Review: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan MastaiI don’t read a lot of time travel books. They tend to make my head hurt, or be romance novels. But the synopsis for All Our Wrong Todays was so compelling I had to give it a go and it was well worth it.

Part of the appeal of Mastai’s debut novel is its take on the well-documented (in literature, at least) consequences of monkeying around in the past. Tom Barren screwed up time big time. He lives in the ideal 2016, or, he did. Flying cars, unlimited free energy, prosperity for all. He says, “punk rock never happened in my world. Punk rock wasn’t required.” All because in 1965 genius inventor Lionel Goettreider turned on the engine that would change the world. But in 2016 Tom will make a rash decision that alters his present to the 2016 we know. Goodbye Jetsons, hello … this?

Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Are you tired of being told every book is “the new Gone Girl”? I won’t tell you that about Behind Her Eyes, but I will say it’s a fine domestic thriller with a love triangle, a hint of the supernatural, and a ferociously good twist.

Louise, a divorced single mother, has a drunken grope with a man at a bar one night. A man who turns out to be married and, as she finds out the next morning, her new boss, Dr. David Martin, psychiatrist. They agree to set aside the night as an awkward fluke that won’t happen again. When Louise runs into his wife, Adele, by chance they bond almost instantly. Adele, with her mysterious past and seemingly isolated existence, is thrilled to have a friend. Louise is torn when her loyalty to her new friend is tested by her and David’s mutual attraction.

Review: A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

Fans of light historical mysteries should be delighted at the return of plucky Veronica Speedwell, Victorian lepidopterist and budding amateur sleuth.

“Perilous Undertaking” picks up not long after the conclusion of Speedwell’s introductory book “A Curious Beginning.” Veronica and her taxidermist friend/investigative partner/flirt object Stoker are busy organizing the vast collection of natural specimens accumulated by the family of their friend and patron amateur naturalist Lord Rosemorran. Veronica is chafing at the cancellation of a planned expedition to Fiji after Rosemorran is upended and injured by a giant tortoise that roams his property.

Review: The Dry by Jane Harper

In the drought-ridden farming community of Kiewarra Luke Hadler murders his wife, his young son, and then himself. His stunned father sends a letter to Federal Police Officer Aaron Falk, Luke’s childhood friend: Luke lied, you lied, be at the funeral. So begins this stellar mystery debut from Australian journalist Jane Harper. A slow burn about small town life, old and new gossip, and going home again.

Kiewarra is parched and residents are stressed.  It isn’t the most unlikely thing in the world that someone would snap but Luke’s parents have questions. A local police sergeant isn’t satisfied either, even if others consider the case closed. Curiosity and those loose ends overpower Falk’s initial reluctance to spend more time in a town whose residents are less than pleased at his return, and to involve himself in a police matter outside his jurisdiction and expertise – he investigates financial crimes, not murders.

Review: Get Your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

This is the time of year I find myself reading a handful of what I like to call “Resolution Books.” Topics vary – get fit, get organized, get better habits, get calm, get centered, get a gorgeous complexion, get the clutter out, get your wardrobe straightened … I love them. Do I do what they say? Not necessarily, though I always get at least one new idea or life hack from them. It’s more a comforting ritual for the new year.

Any why just for the new year? Yes I know there is no time like the present when it comes to self-improvement but the fact is the first day of the year is like the first page of a new notebook. Second only to January 1 is the first day of any month. Followed by the first day of a week, though you have some wiggle room on whether

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