Monday, June 20, 2016

[Book Review] The Successful Author Mindset by Joanna Penn

The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's JourneyThe Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's Journey by Joanna Penn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Being a writer is not just about typing. It’s also about surviving the roller-coaster of the creative journey.

Self-doubt, fear of failure, the need for validation, perfectionism, writer’s block, comparisonitis, overwhelm, and much more. When you’re going through these things, it can feel like you’re alone. But actually, they are part of the creative process, and every author goes through them too.

This book collects the mindset issues that writers experience, that I have been through myself over the last nine years, and that perhaps you will experience at different times on the creative journey.

Each small chapter tackles a possible issue and then offers an antidote, so that you can dip in and out over time. It includes excerpts from my own personal journals as well as quotes from well-known writers. I hope it helps you on the road to becoming a successful author.

Part 2: Recommendation

All the mindset issues throughout the creative journey has been mentioned in a lot, if not all, of the podcasts relating to creative work. As a writer in the beginning stages of my journey, I too have gone through these mindset issues and almost gave up. So, when Joanna Penn announced on her The Creative Penn podcast that she was going to write a mindset book aimed at writers, I felt excited and hoped Joanna finishes the book soon. I wasn't sure if I was going to get selected for an ARC but I emailed her anyway and Joanna was gracious enough to send me an ePub version (Thank you! I truly appreciate it!)

This book, like many of her non-fiction books, has been truly inspiring. Her wonderful voice is very evident in the way she presented the mindset issues as well as in the practical ways she offers the antidote(s). I also liked the fact that she is not afraid bare her soul by sharing excerpts from her journals and mentioning other reading materials both her own books and other writer's books that she feels are relevant to that particular mindset issue. Some people will most likely think that the issues and antidotes in this book are silly or shallow but I honestly feel that just by reading this book, it has already helped me overcome some of the issues I have and has helped me look at it in a different perspective, thereby, helping me navigate through the issue and develop my own resolution. I feel that this book should be in every creative's (not just writers) reference shelf for when you need help moving past that difficult mindset issue.

Despite the book being a quick read, it moved me so much that I wanted to cry my heart out when I reached the end of the book and read the lines: "So what can we do with our time on this earth to be remarkable, to be extraordinary? CREATE. That is all we can do. For this body will crumble and die but we are not tethered by it. Measure your life by what you create. No go write."

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Monday, June 13, 2016

[Book Review] The Art Of Work by Jeff Goins

The Art of WorkThe Art of Work by Jeff Goins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.

The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It's about the task you were born to do.

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.

Part 2: Recommendation

I received the paperback copy from the author way back before it launched and it is only now that I am able to get to it. And because it is a paperback, I borrowed the ebook from my library because I prefer reading ebooks nowadays.

It is very rare that I read nonfiction but when I do, it is around the self-help category. The Art of Work by Jeff Goins is very well-written, inspiring and definitely thought-provoking. I read this book back in April 28, 2016 and until now, I'm still thinking about the points this book focused on: finding your true calling. I suspect I will be thinking about this book and the message it brings for a bit longer until I figure things out for myself (like, am I going in the right direction?).

For others, this book might bring you instant clarity and for some, it might take a while (like me). And for those who have yet to find their true calling, what I like about this book is that you get access to bonuses like extra audio lessons, a PDF workbook, free audiobook version of the book, invite to a private Facebook group/community, and video lessons on mindset shifts. He's also doing an 8-week book study starting June 1, 2016 which will be posted on the private Facebook group as well as on his website. All these bonuses could be helpful if you apply yourself to it. I myself am still going through the bonus materials so I can't comment on that yet.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and there's a lot of passages you'd want to highlight in the book (or write down somewhere) as inspirational quotes for those days when you feel like you've lost your way along your journey to finding your true calling.

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Monday, June 6, 2016

[Book Review] The Girl From Summer Hill By Jude Deveraux

The Girl from Summer HillThe Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: As a member of Penguin's First To Read Program, I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.

Part 1: From The Book Cover

The first novel of New York Times bestselling author Jude Deveraux's breathtaking new series set in Summer Hill, a small town where love takes center stage against the backdrop of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

Enter Elizabeth Bennet. Chef Casey Reddick has had it up to here with men. When she arrives in the charming town of Summer Hill, Virginia, she leaves behind a demanding boss at a famous D.C. restaurant and a breakup with a boyfriend jealous of her success. Some peace and quiet on the picturesque Tattwell plantation is just what she needs to start fresh. But the tranquility is broken one misty morning when she sees a gorgeous naked man on the porch of her cottage.

Enter Mr. Darcy. What Tate Landers, Hollywood heartthrob and owner of Tattwell, doesn't need on a bittersweet trip to his ancestral home is a woman spying on him from his guest cottage. Mistaking Casey for a reporter, Tate tries to run her out of her own house. His anger, which looks so good on the screen, makes a very bad first impression on Casey. Hollywood he may be, but he's no sweetheart to Casey—and she lets him know it!

The plot thickens. Sparks fly—literally—when Casey is recruited to play Elizabeth Bennet opposite Tate's Mr. Darcy in a stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Just brushing past Tate makes Casey's whole body hum. As they spar on and off stage, Casey begins to think she's been too quick to judge. Tate is more down-to-earth than Casey expected, and she finds herself melting under his smoldering gaze. But then Tate's handsome ex-brother-in-law, Devlin Haines, who is playing Wickham, tells Casey some horrifying stories about Tate. She is upset and confused as she tries to figure out who and what to believe. As she finds herself falling for Tate, Casey needs to know: Is the intense, undeniable chemistry between them real, or is this just a performance that ends when the curtain falls?

Part 2: Recommendation

I love Pride and Prejudice and Jude Deveraux is one of my favorite authors. The Girl from Summer Hill is a delightful read in the sense that Casey Reddick, Tate Landers, and Devlin Haines are true to Ms. Austen's Elizabeth Bennett, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, respectively.

Despite there being a lot of P&P retellings (both movies and books), The Girl from Summer Hill delivers P&P both in the contemporary setting as well as the stage play happening inside the story. I especially adore what happens to Devlin Haines and I'm looking forward to the next book in this new Summer Hill series and see what happens to this annoying, self-centered Hildy.

Enjoyable and at times funny, The Girl from Summer Hill is easily, one of my favorites so far in 2016.

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