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February 10, 2017

Review: How to Manifest Money Effortlessly by Bruno R. Cignacco

by Donna Huber

July 2013; John Hunt Publishing; 978-1782790822;
ebook & print (253 pages); self-help
a free ebook was provided for this review
How to Manifest Money Effortlessly is Bruno R. Cignacco's take on the power of positive thinking.

Cignacco discusses the metaphysical principles that, in his opinion, can help the reader create wealth without extra effort. While on the surface I agree with many of his points - the good of a positive attitude, contentment, etc, I'm not totally sold on the idea that mediation and the placement of my furniture will land a $1 million in my bank account.

While organizing my ebooks at the beginning of the year I came across this title on my Nook and thought with everyone's New Year Resolutions it might be an interesting book to review. Apparently, it has been awaiting my review for a while and for the like of me I'm not sure why I accepted it for review. It was really not my type of book at all. But it had its interesting moments.

Though more money wasn't one of my resolutions, I tried to be open-minded about the book. However, I felt that the opening chapters were rambly. There was a lot more repetition than I felt was necessary. In my non-fiction reading, I prefer short and to the point. There were several places throughout the book that I thought could have been written more concisely.

The book was clearly written for a British audience (words with "s" instead of "z" and pounds instead of dollars), I don't think anything was lost in translation.

I have no idea if these techniques will increase anyone's bank account (though there have been studies that show that happy people tend to get more raises and promotions). I'm also not sure how Cignacco believes it either. He is just as apt to use riches, wealth, or prosperity when the terms can be as much of a perspective as it is an actual amount in the bank.

Cignacco takes a Universalist view of the world and largely uses the terms Universe and God interchangeably. The later chapters are steeped in New Age thinking.

Buy How to Manifest Money Effortlessly at Amazon


Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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February 9, 2017

Review: Beauty Sleeping by Farha Hasan

by MK French

January 2017; Evatopia Press; ebook (219 pages)
romance
a free book was provided for this review
In Beauty Sleeping, Saifa is absorbed in her work at an advertising agency while her sister Laila is in a coma. She meets Aidan several times, and their fates seem to be entwined. He's a Wall Street broker dissatisfied with his busy schedule and empty emotional life, and a friend is getting him involved in a new business venture. Of course, Saifa is involved in advertising for it, giving them opportunities to meet. It's difficult for her to bond with people, especially because of a secret involving her sister and the way she views herself.

The South Asian culture is vividly described in this book, and the lyrical prose style really suits it. The style also helps the magical realism of Laila's traveling to observe strangers and people she knows, especially as she tries to draw a Prince Charming to wake her from her sleep. On the other hand, the point of view switches are even more difficult to tease apart in the beginning because of the lyrical style. Laila isn't a likable character from what we see of her, self-absorbed and prone to stealing boyfriends just because she can. There is the social pressure to marry well and elevate the family's social capital, which is felt by both Saifa and Aidan. The introductions to them, their families, their friends and work worlds is very slow, dragging the first half of the book. Once we see a little less of Laila in the second half, the pace picks up and the plot is more easily understood. This is the first book in a series so it could be that questions raised by the ending will be answered in future novels.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 8, 2017

Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

by Alison DeLuca
cover of The Girls by Emma Cline

Although The Girls by Emma Cline is hardly light fare, I finished it in two days. Compelling and beautifully written, this story surrounding a Manson-type slaughter sucked me in right away.

Let me start by reassuring you The Girls is not a gorefest. Cline serves up an introspective evisceration of Evie Boyd, her main character, not blood and guts. While the murders are certainly horrifying - but they occur offstage for the most part.

That said, there's nothing gentle about this read. Evie begins as a bored girl in the suburbs with a hopeless crush on her best friend's brother. When she encounters Suzanne, the head of dumpster-diving hippies who don't care what other think, Evie is obsessed.

Suzanne brings Evie to a sprawling, falling-down ranch run by Russell, a cult leader. The place is spectacularly wild, a complete change for middle-class Evie.

This story is interwoven with Evie's current situation. As she camps in a friend's house,  his son Julian arrives with a girlfriend - Sasha - in tow. They are the catalyst for Evie's flashbacks to the summer she spent on Russell's ranch, in thrall to Suzanne.

I don't usually go for novels retold as memories, but Cline makes it work with her beautiful language. If you enjoyed Jeffrey Eugenides emotional honesty and dense writing in Middlesex, The Girls is a good follow-up. Others have lauded Cline's writing, and like them, it melted me as I read:

"No one had ever looked at me before Suzanne, not really, so she became my definition. Her gaze softening my centre so easily that even photographs of her seemed aimed at me, ignited with private meaning."

Cline's paragraphs about coming-of-age in the late 60's and early 70's are weighty with metaphors and truth: “As if there were only one way things could go, the years leading you down a corridor to the room where your inevitable self waited—embryonic, ready to be revealed. How sad it was to realize that sometimes you never got there. That sometimes you lived a whole life skittering across the surface as the years passed, unblessed."

But I really loved Cline's tiny details, served up like shafts of light in the novel's dark them: “We licked batteries to feel a metallic jolt on the tongue, rumored to be one-eighteenth of an orgasm.” 

Some readers find this style over-the-top. It's true that even watermelons become fodder for the Cline touch, when she compares the fruit's flesh to inner organs. 

At that point, I remembered advice from one of my own editors, who said in the middle of misery readers need some kind relief. A small positive scene or even a shred of humor can keep us going in the middle of darkness. There wasn't a lot of that in The Girls

Still, Cline's originality hooked me to the end.

If you like compelling and intelligent books, this might be a good choice as we emerge from the winter doldrums.


You can find The Girls at Amazon here.

Alison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain. Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 7, 2017

Review: Kissing the Crisis by Kara Martinez Bachman

by Susan Roberts

cover Kissing the Crisis
February 2017; Quill Drive Books; 9781610352901;
ebook & print (145 pages); humor
a free ebook was provided for this review
You're going on a journey to a strange new country where you will look different, act different, even feel different. It's like you're becoming a whole new person, and that person is your mother. Your new homeland is middle age, and you need a native guide to teach you how to survive here, or least to show you where the good bars are.

Written for every woman who knows that turning 40 is no reason to become respectable, Kissing the Crisis is the field guide you need to blaze your own unconventional trail through the jungle of middle age. Humorist Kara Martinez Bachman reports from the front lines of the battle to stay awake after 9 p.m., and her adventures will make you scream with laughter, cringe with embarrassment, and vow to tackle your own midlife crisis with a can-do attitude and a tasty cocktail.

Whether she's searching for a child-friendly bar for a parents drinking session, starting the world s best ukulele/harp gothic rock band, coping with a baby cursing like a sailor in the grocery store, or conquering her fear of a terrifying death during Hurricane Katrina, Bachman shows that life doesn't end at 40 ... it just gets weirder.

Kissing the Crisis is a hilarious look at middle age for women. It's a collection of 21 essays about how women's attitudes toward life, husbands, and children start to change after they reach to big 4-0. The subjects range from "How I turned Down a Date with Brad Pitt" and "Screwed by the Warranty" to "An Eternal Sunshine of the Midlife Mind". As someone who has passed that milestone, I found the essays full of laugh out loud humor and serious reflections that made me think about my own life.

Whether your midlife crisis is coming in the near future or is in your rear view mirror, I think you should read this book for some good laughs and instructions on how to best handle your new life.

"There are many upsides to midlife crisis, believe it or not.  One of them is that you may begin to see things through a different prism, which patiently waits for you on the other side of the hill. "


Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their grandson.  Susan reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.


Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

February 6, 2017

Review: My (Not So) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

by MK French

February 2017; The Dial Press; 978-0812998269;
ebook & print (448 page); humor
a free ARC was provided for this review

Though she grew up in the countryside of Somerset, Katie was determined to move to London, be successful and reestablish herself as Cat. Everyone around her seems to have a glamorous life, while she has a tiny room in an apartment in a dismal part of London. She can't tell her family about the reality of her life, so she's lost and devastated when she's abruptly fired. Returning home, she helps her father and stepmother begin a new business while "on sabbatical." The office politics soon catches up with her when her boss arrives for a vacation.

Katie is a fun character, even when bemoaning how difficult it is to live in London. She and her family are very easy to relate to and fun to read about. It's rather formulaic, because Katie is prettier than she thinks she is, the friends she thinks are so glamorous really aren't, her boss' life isn't as perfect as it seemed, and rumors are not facts. Because she was working in the branding business, of course she had the contacts and knowledge to get her parents' business off the ground and grow into a successful vacation spot within a few months' time. That she gets a measure of revenge against her boss is also very believable. While the ending itself was a bit of a reach, I thought it added to overall charm of My (Not So) Perfect Life.

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

Get even more book news in your inbox by signing up for our newsletter: http://eepurl.com/mHTVL. Girl Who Reads is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small commission is earned when purchases are made at Amazon using any Amazon links on this site. Thank you for supporting Girl Who Reads.

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