Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Self Help

Surface reason for reading this book: My sister in law loves it and I thought it would be a fun challenge.
Underneath reason: I feel shitty and unmotivated so why the frak not?

And so started my journey with my first self help book since reading "He's Just Not that Into You."

This title is fucking exciting and validating. Anyway, I am about halfway through and the struggle is upon me. Perhaps it's because I haven't come across new ground in this book yet and I'm on chapter 12. As a person that is used to reading for plots and character growth, this is frustrating. So far, I've found the third and the sixth chapters the most helpful. The third chapter is about the importance of living the present and the sixth lists tips for radical self love. And now you know a little bit more about me.
          My favorite thing about this book is her use of quotes. I am a person who has a great enthusiasm for affirmations. Positive self talk, tailored mantras, messages taped up in accessible areas...I am all about it. I found myself highlighting and saving quotes from every chapter read thus far. She has a good mix from Anais Nin to Dolly Parton.
She makes some compelling points about retraining your brain and loving yourself. She's huge on loving yourself. I don't disagree. I believe that how you view a situation effects how you go out addressing it which then affects the outcome. Again, it's just nice to be reminded of this and read it put in a different way. This is the strongest selling point for me.
The one thing I don't like about this book is the 'it's already out there in the universe' talk. It sets off my contrary side. I can be grouch. I'm glad I started reading this book. I'm glad that I plan on coming back to it and finishing it bit by bit. Her tone is a bit more motivational speaker than I usually care for but it's a self-help book.

I would recommend this book for anyone in a shitty mood but open to suggestions.

My favorite quotes thus far:

Being present gets you out of your head

You are more than enough. Avoid comparison like the plague.

You aren’t a better person for feeling guilty or bad about yourself, just a sadder one.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Black History Month Reading

I have been known to love a theme. For Black History Month this year, I decided to read mostly Black Historical Romance novels. The reigning queen of the genre (in my factually correct opinion) is Beverly Jenkins. She's been giving you facts and steamy sex scenes for decades. I've been reading her since high school and I'm still a fan. I completed the three novels in her newer "Destiny" series.
 In this series, Jenkins tries some newer areas and it works. My favorite departure from her norm was "Destiny’s Surrender", the second book in the series. Billie, her heroine in Destiny's Surrender, was very different from the others one I've read as she was a 'lady of the evening'. She and Andrew had an ongoing sexual arrangement at the start of the book which also has not happened in any other Jenkins’ book I’ve read. Andrew is also not the only man Billie sleeps with in the book. During his absences, she doesn’t pine but continues to earn a living.  Jenkins usually likes to keep her women virgins and naive about sex. I mean, she’s still focused on being respectable and someone her new family can be proud of. It tempers some of the risk but still makes for a good read.
Another departure for her in Destiny’s Surrender was the anger between Andrew and Billie. When she comes back to him with their son, it isn’t a romantic or touching scene. She doesn’t come back for him and it is a last resort. He doesn’t fall to his knees and believe her. Instead, they exchange the harshest words I’ve heard read a hero call a heroine. Andrew’s transformation doesn’t happen immediately and they have to work to build something. It helps that they were almost in love previously. I really enjoyed this book.
For a twist, I decided to try someone new the genre. Well, new to me. I get attached to authors and I have never considered going outside of Jenkins for my Historical Black Romance needs. However, thanks to Twitter, I randomly came across Alyssa Cole. I’ve previously read ‘Be Not Afraid’ by her and liked it so I took a chance on a second one. "Agnes Moor Wild Knight’ is 38 pages of adventure, great characters, humor and romance. Based on a true story, she gives us a quick backstory and the experience of a Black woman in King James IV court. I liked the fact that she was not a virgin or na├»ve. She was fleshed out. I also liked how Agnes and her knight know what’s up after seeing each other.  She, of course, had to fight it and her reasons for not trusting it are valid. Overall, it was very well done and I look forward to reading more by her.