A valuable read for anyone seeking balance, positivity, and a re-energized approach to life.


A debut self-help guide addresses common illnesses and habits that impede readers’ abilities to connect with their own spiritual powers.

Skarvellis sets this book apart from the very beginning by discussing the physical manifestations of stress and how anxieties and tensions can wreak havoc on the body’s muscular and immune system. The work moves from pointing out these problems to thoroughly exploring practices and habits to help people link to their calm, creative centers. Discussing the seven chakras and their individual roles, the author encourages readers to spend more time learning the state of their bodies—from head to toe. Discovering imbalances, he posits, is the key to returning everything to its original, stable state. For example, Skarvellis discusses the fact that Western society has emphasized right-handedness so much that it has elevated the hemisphere of the brain that is the most widely used—the left one, which is connected to the right side of the body. The author encourages readers to expand their mental abilities by using the left hand and foot just as often to combat the dominance of the left brain. Equally important in the book are personal beliefs. Skarvellis is quick to point out that beliefs that are limiting and self-defeating actually slow the body’s energy, lower body temperature, and cause fatigue, illness, and decreased performance. The author asserts: “We need to become aware of our self-chatter and choose wisely regarding what we think about every day. Collectively, every day builds to every week and then every month, forming negative attitudes that attract negative actions toward us, affecting us with many mood swings.” While the occasional negative notion might seem harmless, it can adversely affect the networks of thoughts that form people’s inner worlds and the attitudes they project. To fight this, the author suggests “Destressercise,” a practice that uses breathing, body awareness, and the altering of thoughts to return an individual to a state of harmony. On the whole, the book provides powerful, upbeat ideas. While some theories would be more effective if they were backed by research or study citations, Skarvellis delivers a compelling and credible manual.

A valuable read for anyone seeking balance, positivity, and a re-energized approach to life.

Pub Date: May 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-7957-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2018

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and...


A dense, absorbing investigation into the medical community's exploitation of a dying woman and her family's struggle to salvage truth and dignity decades later.

In a well-paced, vibrant narrative, Popular Science contributor and Culture Dish blogger Skloot (Creative Writing/Univ. of Memphis) demonstrates that for every human cell put under a microscope, a complex life story is inexorably attached, to which doctors, researchers and laboratories have often been woefully insensitive and unaccountable. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, an African-American mother of five, was diagnosed with what proved to be a fatal form of cervical cancer. At Johns Hopkins, the doctors harvested cells from her cervix without her permission and distributed them to labs around the globe, where they were multiplied and used for a diverse array of treatments. Known as HeLa cells, they became one of the world's most ubiquitous sources for medical research of everything from hormones, steroids and vitamins to gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, even the polio vaccine—all without the knowledge, must less consent, of the Lacks family. Skloot spent a decade interviewing every relative of Lacks she could find, excavating difficult memories and long-simmering outrage that had lay dormant since their loved one's sorrowful demise. Equal parts intimate biography and brutal clinical reportage, Skloot's graceful narrative adeptly navigates the wrenching Lack family recollections and the sobering, overarching realities of poverty and pre–civil-rights racism. The author's style is matched by a methodical scientific rigor and manifest expertise in the field.

Skloot's meticulous, riveting account strikes a humanistic balance between sociological history, venerable portraiture and Petri dish politics.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4000-5217-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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