Midweek Mini Reviews #20

This Midweek Mini Reviews post features two “self-help” books, perfect for starting a new year.

Happy Go Money: Spend Smart, Save Right and Enjoy Life by Melissa Leong

One of my New Years’ resolutions for 2019 was to learn to manage my money better. This is where my copy of Melissa Leong’s Happy Go Money came in. Unlike the majority of other personal finance books that I’ve tried to pick up, but failed to get through, Leong’s book was easy to follow, light-hearted and entertaining. Part personal finance, part self-help I appreciated how Happy Go Money combines psychology and happiness research with finance tips and tricks to give the reader advice, conversation starters and tasks that the readers can start to tackle their financial goals. While a lot of the material in the book may seem like common sense, it was a good reminder for me. I love how Leong encourages people to spend money on experiences and “time-savers” and I wholeheartedly agree with her advice on opening a separate, no-fee bank account with a debit card for all your non-essential spending. I’ll definitely be doing this, as soon as I have enough money to start another account without having any of my other accounts suffering as a result. Happy Go Money is perfect for people who don’t really read “finance” books but want to learn more as it manages to mostly maintain a decent balance between being warm and friendly while still being informative.

Design Your Next Chapter: How to Realize Your Dreams and Reinvent Your Life by Debbie Travis

Debbie Travis is well-known for her home and design shows on TV. However, Design Your Next Chapter isn’t another book about decorating or painting. Instead, it is more of a self-help book that is packed with tons of tips and inspiring stories about people who’ve taken the leap and pursued their dreams. While a lot of the material in the book seems geared more towards an older demographic, there are some takeaways for younger people as well. In particular, I loved the sections that allow you to fill in the blanks with your own hopes and dreams. I also found the Ten Commandments chapter, especially the section on losing your “fear” and the section on budgeting to be incredibly useful. For anyone who may find themselves thinking “what’s next?” reading this is book is a good start and for those who are curious, Design Your Next Chapter is an easily digestible and comforting read that can be relatable to many people.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above reviews consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Midweek Mini Reviews #16


This Midweek Mini Reviews post features some  non-fiction books for those who are feeling a bit lost in life.

Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist by Meredith Goldstein

I’ve always liked reading advice columns in magazines and newspapers so I was keen to pick up Meredith Goldstein’s Can’t Help Myself: Lessons & Confessions from a Modern Advice Columnist as it promised a “behind the scenes” look at one of today’s most popular columns. Unlike your typical advice column, Love Letters is unique in that it allows responses from its readers in the comments section which gives it a more modern, “group therapy” vibe. The book is divided into different sections, each starting with an introduction from Goldstein talking about her personal life and experience. This “memoir” aspect of the book is then followed by one or two questions from her column that fall under the section’s topic along with Goldstein’s response and some of the responses from the comments. I loved seeing the comments from the readers as their responses and suggestions were always entertaining and occasionally extremely hilarious. I enjoyed this refreshingly, honest look at an advice column and am looking forward to checking out the actual Love Letters column online.

Nobody Cares: Essays by Anne T. Donahue

While the first few essays in Anne T. Donahue’s Nobody Cares truly resonated with me, the majority of the essays in this collection did not. However, there were a few that stood out to me. The chief among them is the essay on not being “fun” as I hate or at the very least don’t see the appeal of the popular things she also hates although I do love brunch. Still, I loved that the takeaway was about not doing things you don’t want to anymore, thus giving you permission to not force yourself to do the things you hate, this is something I’m definitely a fan of it. The other essay that stood out to me was her essay on death titled, “It Will Never Feel This bad Again” as not only was it extremely poignant but it was probably the most honest and relatable essay about death I’ve read so far. In the end, if you’re in your 20s or 30s and feeling lost or not liking where you are in life this book will definitely speak to you. Whether it’s by providing advice that needs to be repeated for you to follow like she does in her essay “Get to Work” or being straightforward and blunt with you while oddly also being comforting as seen in her essay titled, “In Case of Emergency”, Donahue truly cements her status of the best friend you would want to have in your corner.

 

 

 

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen Book Review & Giveaway

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Authour:20578768
Suri Rosen
Format:
Trade Paperback, 255 pages
Publication date:
September 9th 2014
Publisher:
ECW Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“Me making a match? Pretty crazy, huh? I’m sixteen years old and have never been on a date. So what do I know about fixing anybody up. But you want to know what’s nuttier? I did it.” (p. 37)

Playing with Matches by Suri Rosen is another excellent book if you are looking for a different type of voice and some diversity in YA fiction. Raina, the protagonist in Playing with Matches is Jewish and this adds an interesting twist on a story that shares a few similarities with a certain Jane Austen character who likes to bring couples together. However unlike Emma, Raina is not as self absorbed and she does her research and puts much thought into the matches she makes.

This leads me to my other thought about this book, which is that I found Raina to be justified in the majority of her actions. To me she did not need to redeem herself as much as she thought since she was usually quite selfless and putting the happiness of others’ before her, even taking a great number of risks to lend them a hand when they needed her. This often landed her in trouble with the adults in her life, and I felt that with exceptionally few exceptions, the adults in her life were always working against her and never gave her a chance. Which I think was unfair for the reason that while it is true, they were clueless to the fact that she was Matchmaker Maven, they never gave her the opportunity to explain herself either. Raina is a good person deep down with good intentions and I felt sad that she’s always being blamed for things that aren’t her fault and when she’s just trying to assist those who need her. In spite of that though the few adults that supported her such as her Aunt Mira’s mother in law, whom she calls “Bubby” and Professor K were extremely supportive and patient with her, and it was touching to witness her relationship with those two evolve over the course of the novel as she undergoes much growth as a person as of her interactions with them.

Playing with Matches is an extremely refreshing read as it’s a contemporary fiction that is not focused on the protagonist’s love life. Instead it is about the love lives of those she helps to bring together. As well it is about the tight community she becomes a part of and the love she has for not just her sister and family but for the strangers that she slowly befriends in her new environment. Don’t get me wrong, I love romance in my YA contemporary novels, if it’s done well, although occasionally it’s a pleasant change to read contemporary novels that don’t focus on two teens falling for each other after all there’s so much more to life at age sixteen then just falling in love and dating.

If you would like to win a copy of this book, please click here: a Rafflecopter giveaway
for the giveaway link as the publisher has generously provided me with an extra copy to give away on my blog.

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Depth of Field by Chantel Guertin Book Review

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Authour:depth
Chantel Guertin
Format:
Trade Paperback, 195 pages
Publication date:
August 12th 2014
Publisher:
ECW Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“…life doesn’t always unfold the way you think, the way you see it. There are layers. I hold my camera up and start snapping. Focusing not on the obvious, but on the unexpected, on the layers. Changing my field of depth. ” (p. 177)

A while ago, I put down Chantel Guertin’s Depth of Field as one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks, and was immediately contacted by the publisher and asked if I would like to be on the blog tour, which of course I wholeheartedly agree to.

In her YA debut, The Rule of Thirds we are introduced to protagonist Pippa Greene, who is a smart, quirky aspiring photographer who is dealing with a personal tragedy that still affects her through the anxiety attacks she has. We get introduced to her life, and her family and friends and we follow her as she develops a romance with her crush. However the first book left many unanswered questions which paved the way for a sequel, Depth of Field.

To start off, what I liked about Depth of Field is that it puts Pippa, who has matured a bit since the first book into a situation where she is completely out of her element. This time because of the distance she no longer has her best friend, her mom or her boyfriend to always go to when she needs help or advice. This forces her to meet new people while getting to know one particular character better. Depth of Field’s biggest strength is that it does an excellent job of expanding on the first book, giving answers to unanswered questions about Ben and about Pippa’s family while still being an enjoyable read that can be picked up even without having read The Rule of Thirds. However this brings me to what I was not a fan of in the book, and that is the whole love triangle from the first book being revisited. After watching and loving the romance develop between Pippa and her now boyfriend in the in the first book of a series I was excited to get back to the couple, only for the love triangle that had died in the first book to re-emerge in the second book. And while learning about Ben was supposed to make me feel sympathetic to him despite his actions in the story I still was not feeling it though I did think seeing his back story fleshed out his character a tad more.

Overall, Depth of Field was a quick read and while it was enjoyable, I felt it was not as strong as The Rule of Thirds. That being said it was just as emotional of a read as the last book, in fact the scene where we find out the real story of how her family came to be near the end made me cry as it was sweet and touching. And while there is still another book after this one, given the ending of Depth of Field, I am not quite sure I will pick up the next book even though I am curious as to how it will all end. This is mostly for the reason that I am worried about how the whole love triangle will be handled as I would hate to see one guy killed off or turned into a jerk suddenly to get rid of him as an option. Nevertheless, if you like a nice, fast realistic summer read, and if you like photography you should definitely check out either The Rule of Thirds or Depth of Field or both. However if you’re looking to read the first book first, check out this link here as the entire first book will be online for the summer.

And if you’re interested in reading this book, the publisher has generously given me an extra copy to give away. So if you live in Canada, and are interested in winning the book just click on the link below to be redirected to the contest page. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Blog Tour | Depth of Field by Chantel Guertin Book Review

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Authour:depth
Chantel Guertin
Format:
Trade Paperback, 195 pages
Publication date:
August 12th 2014
Publisher:
ECW Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

“…life doesn’t always unfold the way you think, the way you see it. There are layers. I hold my camera up and start snapping. Focusing not on the obvious, but on the unexpected, on the layers. Changing my field of depth. ” (p. 177)

A while ago, I put down Chantel Guertin’s Depth of Field as one of my Waiting on Wednesday picks, and was immediately contacted by the publisher and asked if I would like to be on the blog tour, which of course I wholeheartedly agree to.

In her YA debut, The Rule of Thirds we are introduced to protagonist Pippa Greene, who is a smart, quirky aspiring photographer who is dealing with a personal tragedy that still affects her through the anxiety attacks she has. We get introduced to her life, and her family and friends and we follow her as she develops a romance with her crush. However the first book left many unanswered questions which paved the way for a sequel, Depth of Field.

To start off, what I liked about Depth of Field is that it puts Pippa, who has matured a bit since the first book into a situation where she is completely out of her element. This time because of the distance she no longer has her best friend, her mom or her boyfriend to always go to when she needs help or advice. This forces her to meet new people while getting to know one particular character better. Depth of Field’s biggest strength is that it does an excellent job of expanding on the first book, giving answers to unanswered questions about Ben and about Pippa’s family while still being an enjoyable read that can be picked up even without having read The Rule of Thirds. However this brings me to what I was not a fan of in the book, and that is the whole love triangle from the first book being revisited. After watching and loving the romance develop between Pippa and her now boyfriend in the in the first book of a series I was excited to get back to the couple, only for the love triangle that had died in the first book to re-emerge in the second book. And while learning about Ben was supposed to make me feel sympathetic to him despite his actions in the story I still was not feeling it though I did think seeing his back story fleshed out his character a tad more.

Overall, Depth of Field was a quick read and while it was enjoyable, I felt it was not as strong as The Rule of Thirds. That being said it was just as emotional of a read as the last book, in fact the scene where we find out the real story of how her family came to be near the end made me cry as it was sweet and touching. And while there is still another book after this one, given the ending of Depth of Field, I am not quite sure I will pick up the next book even though I am curious as to how it will all end. This is mostly for the reason that I am worried about how the whole love triangle will be handled as I would hate to see one guy killed off or turned into a jerk suddenly to get rid of him as an option. Nevertheless, if you like a nice, fast realistic summer read, and if you like photography you should definitely check out either The Rule of Thirds or Depth of Field or both. However if you’re looking to read the first book first, check out this link here as the entire first book will be online for the summer.

And if you’re interested in reading this book, the publisher has generously given me an extra copy to give away. So if you live in Canada, and are interested in winning the book just click on the link below to be redirected to the contest page. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

Waiting On Wednesday #21 – Depth of Field by Chantel Guertin

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Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights upcoming titles that we’re looking forward to/dying to read.
It is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine
depth

Authour:
Chantel Guertin
Publication date:
August 12th 2014
Publisher:
ECW Press

Synposis:

Two weeks in New York City should be the time of Pippa’s life: she’s attending the prestigious Tisch Photography Camp, her boyfriend, Dylan McCutter (two months and counting!) is coming with her, and their parents are 500 miles away. Talk about lights, camera, (swoony, unchaperoned) action! But what should be 14 unforgettable days of bliss turns into chaos when her one and only nemesis, Ben Baxter, proves to be surprisingly more complex than she could’ve ever imagined, and her Tisch mentor, a renowned photographer, seems to have a lot more to do with her parents’ past than anyone wants her to know. Is Pippa out of her depth?

Last year I read The Rule of Thirds by Chantel Guertin. It was a good read but the ending felt a bit rushed and there were still so many unanswered questions that I had. Fortunately the authour informed me that there would be a sequel, and now that there’s a synposis, cover an release date I am definitely putting this title on my tbr list.

What book are you “waiting on” this week?

Book Review | Waiting For The Man by Arjun Basu

Authour:waiting
Arjun Basu
Format:
Hardcover, 294 pages
Publication date:
April 15th 2014
Publisher:
ECW Press
Source:
Received from publisher in exchange for a blog tour.

Review:

“Every religion and ideology has claimed my action as their own. My actions were never, really, mine. I never owned them.” (p. 98)

Joe is just your average guy who like several people feels overworked and burned out. One night he has a dream of a man who tells him that he is waiting for him, and it is that one thing that causes him to leave his job and home in search of this mysterious man. What follows is more than just a story of one man’s journey; it becomes a sort of social commentary on things like the celebrity culture, social media and how the public combined with some creative advertising and marketing can turn something simple and ordinary into the next local sensation.

“Because I had a sense that despite Dan’s best efforts, this wasn’t huge. It wasn’t going viral. It was niche. I was just another bit of noise in the world. Some people listened but many didn’t.” (p. 137)

Though not indicated the chapters actually alternate between Joe on his journey as it quickly becomes a local media sensation and Joe in the present day, showing what his life is like afterwards. The voice of Joe is an especially captivating one throughout the novel and it truly spoke to me because a lot of what he says and thinks are relatable. However I found that there were numerous times where the writing felt drawn out, that plus the somewhat slow pacing made this novel feel much longer than its actual length. There also wasn’t much plot or action throughout the book so it was easy at times to get bored, still if you are patient you will discover that the story is a fascinating look at human nature and people in general. Joe, the narrator and protagonist could easily be anybody nowadays who is unhappy or unsatisfied or even those who have doubts about their lives.

” My thoughts were arrested always by one question: what did I hear? If not the Man, then what? How could I explain that? Did I really want to see the Man so badly that I had forsaken everything? Was my life so bad?” (p. 268)

Waiting for the Man is an unusual but extremely interesting literary novel. Nevertheless it is not a novel for everyone, if you don’t care for the social commentary in the book you may find it difficult to take and not as enjoyable. I for one, however found it to be an incredibly intelligently written book.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

[Blog Tour] Waiting For The Man Blog Tour

Today I  have the pleasure of kicking off the Waiting For The Man blog tour with my review of the book. Be sure to check out my review later today on the blog, as well as the other blog tour stops which are listed below!

waiting

Thursday, May 1st Words of Mystery Tour kickoff & review
Monday, May 5th – Buried in Print – Review
Tuesday, May 6th – A New Day – Review & giveaway
Wednesday, May 7th – The Book Stylist – Review
Thursday, May 8th – bookgaga – Review
Friday, May 9th – A Bookworm’s World – Review & giveaway