Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Review - Overcoming Anxiety by David J. Berndt, Ph.D

Overcoming Anxiety
By David Berndt, PhD
Genre: Mental Health, Self-help

Book Blurb

The good news is that anxiety can be overcome without relying on medication. Psychologist David Berndt, Ph.D., in Overcoming Anxiety outlines several self-help methods for relief for anxiety and worry. In clear simple language and a conversational style. Dr. Berndt shares with the reader powerful step by step proven techniques for anxiety management.

You will learn:
  • A Self-hypnosis grounding technique in the Ericksonian tradition.
  • Box Breathing, Seven Eleven and similar breathing techniques for anxiety relief.
  • How to stop or interrupt toxic thoughts that keep you locked in anxiety.
  • How to harness and utilize your worries, so they work for you.
  • Relief from anxiety through desensitization and exposure therapy.

Designed to be used alone as self-help or in conjunction with professional treatment Dr. Berndt draws upon his experience as a clinician and academic researcher to give accessible help to the reader who wants to understand and manage their anxiety.

My Review

I have had anxiety problems for as long as I can remember, so I was interested to see if Dr. Berndt would offer anything new or the same old stuff I have been practicing for years to help manage the anxiety monster. I found the book Overcoming Anxiety to be a very easy read, but also jam packed with information and new (to me) techniques to practice. I really liked the 54321 method he discusses. I have used "grounding" techniques that are similar in the past, but I found that using the technique as he describes actually not only stopped my anxiety from climbing, but brought it down a notch or two. Which for me is no easy task.

I really liked that he provided real life examples of how the exercises work and also spent a good bit of time explaining the what your body experiences during anxiety or panic attacks, and why each of the exercises work.

Practicing these new skills is key when you struggle with anxiety. It's hard to remember to breath, let alone breath in a certain way when your mind is racing. I intend to continue practicing the skills I have learned from Overcoming Anxiety so that they will hopefully become more natural and committed to "muscle memory".

I give this book 5 stars for depth of content and ease of understanding. If you find yourself being overwhelmed with worry or panic sometimes, check out Overcoming Anxiety for some ideas on how to help rein in that anxiety monster.

Author Bio

David J. Berndt, Ph.D. was an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Chicago where he published or presented over 80 papers and articles before establishing a private practice. Dr Berndt currently lives in Charleston, S.C. where he also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the College of Charleston. He is best known for his psychological tests TheMultiscore Depression Inventory, and the Multiscore Depression Inventory for Children, both from Western Psychological Services. He also contributes to several psychology websites including

Praise for Dr. Berndt’s work:

About Overcoming Anxiety

“Dr. Berndt is a creative and forward-thinking psychologist who has contributed to advancing psychology both with his research and clinical practice. He has helped countless patients with their depression and anxiety, and his conversational and accessible style of writing makes Overcoming Anxiety a book you would want for your top shelf.

- Charles Kaiser, Ph.D. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the College of Charleston



Friday, July 10, 2015

Book Review - Sandcastle and Other Stories by Justin Bog

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition
By Justin Bog
Genre: Short Fiction/Psychological Literary Suspense

The Complete Edition of Justin Bog's First Collection of Dark Psychological Suspense Tales.

An award-winning collection, Sandcastle and Other Stories reveals twisted secrets that are mined like plutonium. These twelve literary tales are nothing short of an adventure through a roiling sea of emotion. With authenticity and eloquence, author Justin Bog holds a provocative and compelling mirror on the human condition.

"The stories are those of everyday people who might live next door or in the walk-up across the street . . . A man with a personal crisis takes a singles cruise – a woman leaves her toddler girl at the beach while having a romantic tryst – a B-list actor’s character is killed off – a girl is sucked below the sand into an underwater chamber . . . an old gardener who has dark secrets interacts with the bosses daughter in a most unforeseen way. The only commonality in these tight, little stories is they are unexpected. Having this book is like having a string of black pearls – each one slightly different, but each a perfect, dark, little gem . . . Bog paints pictures with words as Titian did with oil paints – startlingly detailed with deep perspective and rich complexity."

--Rosi Hollenbeck, San Francisco Book Review

My Review

Short stories often don't catch my attention due to lack of character development and backstory.  They often seem flat to me.  Justin Bog, the author of Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition is an amazing writer and storyteller.  Some of the characters have been forever branded into my mind.  The stories were each captivating in their own right.  The characters came alive.  The emotions lept off the page (or screen, as it were) and landed straight in my gut.  The stories are dark, rich and silky like an exquisite ganache.

Definitely my favorite summer read - and I will certainly revisit this one again.  I am excited to see what else Bog has in store for us down the road.

Author Bio

Justin Bog lives in the Pacific Northwest on Fidalgo Island. Justin Bog was Pop Culture Correspondent and Editor for In Classic Style. He enjoys cooking, lawn mowing not so much, and spends time walking and handing out treats to two long coat German shepherds, Zippy and Kipling, and two barn cats, Ajax The Gray and Eartha Kitt’n.

Sandcastle and Other Stories: The Complete Edition  on Amazon:

*The author will be selling two new stories separately in one bundle under the title: Speak the Word! as an eBook only for $1.99

Justin’s creative writing blog is here.
On Twitter @JustinBog
On Goodreads:

***I received a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion and review.***

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Book Spotlight - In the Dark by Chris Patchell

In the Dark
by Chris Patchell

Book Description:

Marissa Rooney stands in her daughter’s empty dorm room, a half-used vial of insulin clutched in her trembling hand. Brooke has been missing for days. Her roommate hasn’t seen her since that night in the bar. And if Marissa has Brooke’s insulin, it means that Brooke does not.

The investigation takes a sudden and deadly turn when the police discover the body of another college student who went missing a few weeks before Brooke. Desperate to find her daughter, Marissa fears time is running out.

But she isn’t alone in her terror. A phantom from Marissa’s past is lurking in the shadows, waiting in the night, and holding her family captive…

In the dark.

About Bio:

When Chris Patchell isn’t hiking in the Cascade Mountains or hanging out with family and friends, she is working at her hi-tech job or writing gritty suspense novels. Why suspense? Chris blames her obsession with the dark on two things: watching Stephen King movies as a kid and spending ridiculous amounts of time commuting in Seattle traffic. Learn more about Chris and her books at or follow her on Facebook.

Visit Kindle Scout where you can read a sample of In the Dark and vote for the book: