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The Cove

The Cove by Catherine Coulter

"The Cove seems the perfect sanctuary to Sally Brainerd, daughter of murdered Amory St. John of Washington, D.C. She's not aware FBI Special Agent James Quilnan is after he. He's got a murder to solve, and he believes she's the key. But is she really? Are you ready for non-stop romantic suspense?"

This is the first book in the FBI series. Quilnan is friends and boss of Savich so it all ties together in the next book when Savich is introduced (I've read the books out of order). I love getting to know Quilnan better. He plays a role in the other books but they are more focused on the Savich and Sherlock duo.

Rating (1, lowest; 5, highest): 5

Blueberry Muffin

Blueberry Muffin Murder by Joanne Fluke

"Preparations are underway for Lake Eden's annual Winter Carnival and Hannah is set to bake up a storm at her popular shop, The Cookie Jar. Too bad the honor of creating the official Winter Carnival cake went to famous lifestyle maven Connie Mac. Hannah suspects Connie Mac is a lot like the confections she whips up on her cable TV cooking show -- sweet, light, and scrumptious-looking, but likely to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Hannah's suspicions are confirmed when Connie Mac's limo rolls into town. Turns out America's "Cooking Sweetheart" is bossy, bad-tempered, and down-right domineering. Things finally boil over when Hannah arrives a The Cookie Jar to find the Winter Carnival cake burnt to a crisp and Connie Mac lying dead in her pantry, struck down while eating one of Hannah's famous blueberry muffins. Next thing Hannah knows, the police have declared The Cookie Jar's kitchen crime scene off-limits. She's a baker without an oven and the Carnival is right around the corner. Hannah's only alternative is to cook up a plan to save her business -- by find the killer herself... "

I am so glad I started reading this series last year. I love the Hannah Swensen mystery series. I love the characters and the small town of Lake Eden.

Rating (1, lowest; 5, highest): 5

Five No Nonsense Ways to Ease Stress, Depression, & Anxiety

Let's not waste another moment and go straight into five quick ways that will help you find relief from stress, depression, and anxiety.

Take regular breaks from the firing line.
Working hard without regular breaks is a great way to build up stress and tension. Make sure you have at least one 15-minute break in the morning and one in the afternoon as well as at least 20 minutes for lunch.

If you are at work, eat lunch away from your workstation. Equally, if you have a lot to deal with in your life right now, taking a day, or a weekend elsewhere, to get some breathing space will really ease the tension. Even just a day away from the firing line will enable you to get some distance from the problems and help you to gather your thoughts.

Regular exercise can help relieve stress, depression and anxiety.
Exercise releases endorphins into your system and will give you a natural energy boost. It will also provide you with a break from brooding and dwelling upon problems and troubles - but only if you perform the right kind of exercise. Avoid exercises that allow you to dwell (weight lifting, jogging, treadmills) and perform exercises that require your full concentration.

Competitive sports such as squash, tennis, badminton and circuit training are all excellent examples. It is important that you do not brood when you exercise because although you will be benefitting physically, you are still stressing yourself mentally and the stress, depression and anxiety will worsen.

Stop beating yourself up.
Self-deprecation is a huge part of stress, depression and anxiety. Each time you put yourself down, you erode your confidence and self-esteem. Never tell yourself you're useless, worthless, stupid, hopeless, boring, ugly, or a loser. Never convince yourself that other people hate you, that others find you difficult to be around and that you're better off being alone. You would never deem it acceptable to say such things to other people and you must deem it equally unacceptable to say them to yourself.

Derogatory words and phrases are powerful and they will hurt you. Accept you're not perfect and that you make mistakes - just like everybody else does - and cut yourself some slack. From this day, make a pact with me to never indulge self-deprecation ever again. It's simply not true and unacceptable.

Avoid Isolation - It increases stress, depression and anxiety.
Okay, there will be times when you just want your own company. During such times, you can fret over problems and events and beat yourself up for hours on end. Not good! Instead, use isolation to your advantage. Occupy your mind by tackling a jigsaw puzzle, a logic problem, a crossword, read a book or perform a hobby such as painting, playing a musical instrument or whatever it is you have an interest in. In this way, isolation will help you to grow instead of causing you further pain.

Avoid the TV, radio, and newspaper.
These can all supply you with a daily hit of negativity and help lower your mood. Articles often center on the negative side of life: crime, corruption, war, scandal and natural disasters and can give you a distorted view of reality. Not to mention the amount of image manipulation they subject you to. Give yourself a break from this negative drip feed and avoid them completely for one week.

You now have five, no nonsense tips to help fight stress, depression and anxiety. They are doable, drug-free and will boost your mood levels very quickly indeed. Try it!

Thought of the Day - 2/26/07

Life is short.
Break the rules.
Forgive quickly.
Kiss slowly.
Love truly.
Laugh uncontrollably.
And never regret anything that made you smile.

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