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“How to Be a Bawse” by Lilly Singh

I admire you, Lilly Singh. You walk your name, Superwoman, well. You truly know How to Be a Bawse. As a direct result of reading your book I know 100% my life will be, is, different going forward. You spoke to me in the form of a picture book for adults. (Not that kind of adult.) I didn’t even know that’s what I needed to light a fire under my butt. I am not aware of everything you do, but I do know you do a lot and you got there by doing a lot. And you are one of the few out there who knows every human being has the capability to be a bawse, but not every human being is willing to put in the work to be a bawse. To fix this problem, you wrote a book, knowing full well that to some, reading a book from start to finish can be intimidating.

I’m sorry it took depression to get you to eventually become the kickass woman you are today, but I’m glad it made you appreciate colors in a whole new light. Your book cover is eye-catching to say the least and every single picture in the book grabbed my attention as well. Your 50 short chapters about 2-3 pages each divided the book up in parts that made it a breeze to get through, absolutely perfect for the A.D.D. mind. It is a book that avid readers can most certainly enjoy, but also one where if someone was not into reading, they would find it easy to follow and get through and not feel like reading is a chore. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if your book turned non-readers into avid readers.

Your comedic personality shines through and I am so glad you can back up every single truth bomb with an example or story from one of your many life experiences. You are without a doubt a funny motivational speaker as well. Every single chapter is relatable in some way and there is a lesson to be learned within each chapter. You cover just about every aspect of life from how to think to how to feel to how to talk to your parents to how to set deadlines to how to learn and grow from a break-up to how to drink water to how to be a good friend to how to invest in yourself to how to hustle harder. I mean I could go on and on, but you leave no stone unturned. Best of all, you do all this efficiently.

To top it all off, you give God the glory for all your success. You remind everyone that no matter what they believe in, even if it wasn’t God, there is something out there bigger than them that can give and can taketh away. I admire you, Lilly Singh. Like a Shakespearean sonnet. You are not only a bawse and show exactly how you got there, but you GET IT. Zoop!

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“Circe” by Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller is my new favorite author. She makes me want to take a Classics class. I don’t even know what that class is officially called, but anything that has to do with Greek gods and I am in. From Circe I have learned the Greek gods are more like humans than we can imagine, but things like kindness and friendship is not something they are familiar with. And I hate to say this, but I think I have more in common with Circe than I’d like to admit because of who she is and what happens to her.

Getting exiled to an island due to transforming your sister into a six-headed monster is not my idea of a good time, but as a crazy writer introvert, I can relate to her life on the island in a weird way. Ever since my pre-teens I have dreamed of being on an island with no rules and being able to bring anyone on it as I like and if I had a boyfriend, do anything with him that I wanted and anything he wanted. Circe may be considered a witch, but there must be something therapeutic in working on her potions and spells and using different herbs and such like I find in writing or reading. She fell in love with the wrong man at the beginning of her journey and that caused her to not desire a commitment. I can understand that.

When men came to her island to rape her, she started turning all of them into what they are: pigs. While I cannot relate to that, I can understand why she would want to do that. In a world where women were devalued and not in control of anything, Circe was able to take control of her own life on her island and even find peace in being alone. She knew in her exile that she must still find a way to make things right with Scylla, her sister she turned into a monster, which is why she went in the end to find her. Things did not turn out the way she wanted, but she found the understanding she craved in Telemachus, Penelope’s son with Odysseus.

I admire Circe for her strength and independence. She may not do everything right, but she knew how to make the best of every situation throughout all her wild adventures. She also didn’t get everything she wanted, but she did get the understanding she desperately needed in the end. Isn’t that all we are ever asking for?

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“The Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller

I know why Madeline Miller won the Orange Prize for Fiction for her debut novel, The Song of Achilles. She took a ten-year risk to write about characters from an ancient Greek epic poem from the point of view of the underdog. She put together sentences like these ones: “His fingers touched the strings, and all my thoughts were displaced. The sound was pure and sweet as water, bright as lemons. It was like no music I had ever heard before. It had warmth as a fire does, a texture and weight like polished ivory. It buoyed and soothed at once. A few hairs slipped forward to hang over his eyes as he played. They were fine as lyre strings themselves, and shone.” (p. 34, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller) She paints a picture of the perfect man who does not exist in real life, but makes every girl (and man) drool over him to be real anyway. She describes a world where gods and humans coexist, fighting over land and honor, the stuff of Kings working toward expanding their Kingdoms. She is a woman, yet is able to describe the admiration and appreciation of beauty in a man from the point of view of a man so realistically there is beauty in that that comes to life, jumping off the page into the life of the reader. Before this book I had no idea there were so many ways to describe a beautiful man or the intensity of the wrath of a goddess, feeling the doom as if Thetis were there in the room with me.

Yet despite all the love and beauty between one man and another, as well as eventually between a man and his best woman friend, Briseis, Miller manages to portray the barbarity of the war. Women are taken as prizes and bed-slaves. Virgin daughters are sacrificed to appease the anger of the gods. Skulls crack open when one man kills another. Here is where hubris is introduced for the first time and henceforth all tragedies moving forward includes an element of excessive pride, or “arrogance that scrapes the stars, for violence and towering rage as ugly as the gods.” (p.295, The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller) I could not have defined that word any better. Nobody could appreciate Achilles better than Patroclus could and for this Patroclus deserved his own admirer in the form of Briseis. This is the beginning of good triumphing over evil and love conquering all. This is also where dying in a war is more honorable for a prince than dying for any other reason. This is where gender roles are explored for the first time and experiencing ramifications of disobeying the Greek gods. The whole novel is a song in itself, singing of the depth of true love and the amount of blood a man will shed to protect those who he truly cares about, men and women alike. Not too shabby for an underdog like Patroclus.

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“Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis

Dear Rachel Hollis,

Thank you. You don’t know me, but thank you for reminding me that sometimes watching TV is bailing on myself. Thank you for sharing your love story; I have learned how to identify toxic people in my life and successfully walk away from them. I have never felt so empowered in all my life. Thank you for that strength I didn’t even know I had in me. Thank you for sharing your pregnant story; I have learned that all you need to do during that time is make sure you take care of the baby and then yourself. If I ever get pregnant, I will keep that in mind. Thank you for teaching me that my goals don’t have expiration dates. I love that even though it took you years to buy your very first Louis Vuitton bag, you were able to imagine your dream in such intricate detail so early on that it became a reality one day. I’m sorry you went through so much trauma losing your brother to suicide, but thank you for sharing the story to remind me that trauma does not define my life. Thank you for talking to me like I’m one of your girl friends and believing in me even though you don’t know me. Thank you for not being afraid to talk about God, yet being considerate of those who are a different faith than you. I admire you for that. Thank you for not sugar-coating any of your stories and literally letting me see the good, the bad, and the ugly of what happened to you as a mom, as a marathon-runner, as a teen, as an entrepreneur, and as a writer. I know you wear even more hats than that, but truly, you are amazing just the way you are and I hope you stay that way. Thank you for sharing that part of eating every Oreo in sight and the other part of drinking all the wine. You are so honest, raw, and real. My favorite type of book to read is the novel and while your book was not a novel, I read it like it was the kind of novel I can’t put down. You don’t know me, but I love you as my sister in Christ. You don’t know me, but I think you do.

Love,

Me

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“Fatal” by Fred Colton

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If you don’t know who Pace Warner is, you are seriously missing out. If you are like me and have always wondered what it would be like to put action scenes into words, this is for you. Colton has some sort of sniper experience for sure. Only someone who has been one or observed one or talked to one can describe it from the first person point of view. The only downside to this book is it is so short. You get to the last page and you’re like, “Nooo, that’s it?! Tell me more!” The length is not really a downside at all though, as all good things must come to an end and it leaves you wanting more. I’m not going to say anyone can enjoy this book, but I will say anyone who’s watched an action/thriller film or is in any way remotely interested in this genre will enjoy this book. As previously mentioned, I haven’t read nearly as many thriller books as the average thriller fan, but I don’t care about numbers. If you are a thriller fan, you have got to check out Colton. Plus, if you have read The Colony, this will give you the backstory. Who doesn’t love backstories?

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“The Singles Game” by Lauren Weisberger

The Singles Game

I don’t know what it’s like to be a professional tennis player, but Lauren Weisberger’s The Singles Game is what I imagine it to be like. I have to admit though, I think the title has a double meaning. The first thing that came to mind was love and relationships and not just because Cosmopolitan recommended this read. I had to look closer at the cover a second time to see it was about tennis.

I loved The Devil Wears Prada so I went in with great expectations. It is safe to say Weisberger delivered with this one as well. It could be made into a movie if she wanted. You can tell she did her research.

It turns out it was about tennis and relationships at the same time, so maybe that was her intention all along. It’s a very fluffy story, but I liked learning about the behind-the-scenes in tennis and seeing just how Todd Feltner was like a male version of Miranda Priestly. It’s basically a story about a girl named Charlotte “Charlie” Silver who devoted her whole life to tennis and really wants to be number one, but once she makes the decision to sacrifice everything outside of tennis for the sake of winning, she realizes she wants all the real people back, like her former coach Marcy and her hitting partner Dan, and not the celebrities who only add glitter to her life, something sparkly that later lands and creates a huge mess.

Like Andy Sachs, Charlie is a determined girl. She is willing to change her whole image into this “warrior princess” type to not only please Feltner, but to realize her ultimate goal. But like any person who’s ever chased a dream so hard it hurts, Charlie comes to her senses and focuses on staying true to her heart and to the people who helped her do just that.

The story is simple, but it’s a fun read to be enjoyed at any time.

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“Luckiest Girl Alive” by Jessica Knoll

Luckiest

Book Riot recommended this novel via their YouTube channel several months ago and I ended up picking up my copy at the airport on the way to Cancún. I finished it within the week I spent on vacation last Thanksgiving with my parents. Yes, even while in Cancún, the novel grabbed my attention enough for me to make time to find out how it ends.

Where do I begin? I don’t want to say, “it’s sooooooo good,” and sound so basic, if you will, for lack of a better word, but that is one way to describe it. Now I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before and I haven’t searched my own blog to check, but thrillers are not my favorite thing to read or watch. Needless to say, I made an exception for this book. That black rose on the cover intrigued me, to say the least, in a way that I was drawn to the idea that pretty things like pretty girls have not just a layer of dark secrets, but a layer of ugly. This layer is hidden underneath, waiting to be pulled back. So you see, I had to turn the pages to find what I was looking for, especially when the back cover claimed this girl had the perfect life.

Spoiler alert: she did not. But she does break it down to you slowly what happened in her past, using flashbacks and jumping back and forth between the past and the present. When she gets to the “aha!” moment, you feel so bad for what happened to her, her secret layer, you wish no girl has to ever go through what she went through as a teen and you wonder if a girl like her is really lucky to be alive. But then again, if she had not survived, there’d be no girls out there who could lend a voice to all the other girls out there who experienced the same kind of horror.

Because you see, this book may have been fiction, and I have never met the author or was present in her life when she was younger, but there is some raw truth in here that if you have not gone through what she has gone through you would want to listen and reach out.

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“The Colony” by Fred Colton

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Watch out for Fred Colton. This guy is a beast in the thriller world of words and takes Word Hustler to a whole new level with his debut novel, The Colony. As someone who hasn’t read many thrillers, I found this one to have a “Mission Impossible” and “007” vibe that brings the big screen onto the page. I want to be best friends with some of these people, ones who run super fast in space and get face transplants to turn into an exact copy of another person and run around on the moon and deceive the government and…trust me, you just have to read the book to find out if America or China wins when it comes to colonizing up there.

Not going to lie. There are a lot of characters and a lot going on that sometimes makes it hard to keep track of everything, but this may just be a personal thing for me as well as I tend to have trouble keeping up with the haps with books with many characters. This is still kudos to Colton, though, as he seems knowledgeable about the technology, the space terms, and how politics and the government would run such a hypothetical global future so boy did his research for sure.

I could see Colton took aspects of his love of running in his real life into this story. I enjoyed the backstory about the brothers, Tom and Kyle, and the surprise at the end when it all comes together, truly a mesh of imagination, creativity, and reality at its best.

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“Fangirl” thoughts

It’s been a minute since I last made a YouTube video, but I didn’t want to leave out my third and last BTR review from my first set. I’m not sure if I’m going to make this into a tradition of some sort and keep making BTR videos or I’m just going to review books as I read them. We shall see. But as usual, I stuck to my crazy writer talking self and just let my raw ramble loose.

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a taste of steampunk

Some of you may already be familiar with steampunk. That’s awesome! I recently finished reading my first novel set in a steampunk world. I really enjoyed myself with this adventure story about a 16-year-old professional thief. I made a video of my thoughts and like I promised, I’m going to update you all on my progress at making videos. Not that long ago I figured out how to add music to my videos. This one I was able to add music that I felt gave off a steampunkish vibe. The only problem is, it ended up being a little bit louder than me talking, so I apologize if it’s a little hard to hear me. 😦 If you have trouble hearing, I did leave a link in the video to my written book review. See for yourself: