It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single by Sara Eckel

BLOG“Why are you single?”

Undoubtedly one of the most annoying questions ever asked, but it’s a question every person with a single status has been asked at some point.  In a world where coupling up is the standard, being single seems like a big mystery.  I mean, there’s gotta be a reason, right?  It’s become a common belief.  One that leads to the question “why are you single?” to be asked, but also for singles to endlessly analyze in an attempt to find an answer.

Sara Eckel examines and breaks down the twenty-seven most common reasons we’ve all heard at some point, such as: you’re too intimidating, you’re too picky, you’re too available, you’re too negative, you’re too desperate.  In her writing she develops a compelling argument and puts forth her own questions:

“What if your only ‘issue’ is the belief that you have them and that they’re keeping you from a relationship? What if you stopped defining yourself as someone who is afraid of intimacy or attracted to the wrong kind of man? What if you instead saw yourself as a flawed but basically loveable human being? What if the only reason you’re alone is you just haven’t met your partner yet?”

It’s Not You is an interesting and great read, one that many people will most likely relate too.  It is more geared towards women and the author draws from her own experiences.  I found it to be a refreshing take on the single life and dating in general.  Here is what this book isn’t:

“This book is not a guide for how to find a husband or wife – because I have no idea. It’s also not an action plan for renovating your soul so that you’ll be “ready” for love; if you’ve picked up this book, I’m sure you’re plenty ready. It’s not a tome from a know-it-all married lady – because seriously, I just met a dude, that’s it.”

Here is what it is:

“… it’s my attempt to clear away some of the societal muck that weighs us down and alienates us from our own instincts. This, of course, is not just a single-person problem – it’s an everybody problem. But when you’re single, there is so very much shit to wade through.”

It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single is a must read for anyone who has ever tried to answer the question “why am I still single?”

Favourite quote: “If you’re single and feel a void – if you find that career, friends, books, and travel are actually not enough – it’s not because you’re dizzy-brained or immature; it’s because you’re feeling a very legitimate need.”

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

23208417“Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

After her dad has a mental breakdown and her mom takes off, seventeen-year-old Lucille is left to pay the bills and take care of her eleven-year-old sister, Wren.  While her home life could never have been called perfect, this situation brings on a level of responsibility that is incredibly overwhelming. Lucille does not know if her mom will come back and fears that if anyone finds out about her situation, they will end up in the foster system and she may be separated from her sister. With her future as uncertain as ever she does everything she can to take care of little Wren and keep them together. In the midst of all this she finds her feelings for her best friend Eden’s brother Digby growing, which adds to the confusion and challenge of her situation.

This Raging Light is a heartbreaking story that deals with a lot of really difficult issues.  The writing is well done and does a great job of giving us Lucille’s perspective, where we get to experience everything through her point of view.  I really felt for her and the unfortunate circumstances that surrounded her.  She is a strong character who you truly root for, and her relationship with her sister is very sweet and endearing.  There are many aspects of this book that work beautifully, however there are two problems I had that took me out of the story.  Those would be the characters of Eden and Digby.  As the best friend (Eden) and the love interest (Digby), I found them to be surprisingly unlikable.  Their actions and general behavior, which started out as helpful, ended up coming across as selfish as the story progressed.  Unfortunately they are important characters and it’s not something I was able to  disregard.  It is an emotional story with a lot of promise that for me just didn’t come together.

*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: December 22, 2015.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

23310761“Like all stories, the one you are about to read is a love story. If it wasn’t, what would be the point?”

Arden is a kind and fiercely loyal person who takes care of everyone in her life.  Whether it be her best friend Lindsey, her family, or her boyfriend Chris. She’s always there for everyone, however as time goes by she begins to feel like not everyone is always there for her.  She finds comfort in a blog written by a boy named Peter in New York City, titled Tonight the Streets Are Ours.  In his writing she believes she has found someone who can truly understand her, the way that she understands him.  After Arden reaches her breaking point she decides to drive to NYC and meet Peter.  But not everything is as Arden imagined and it turns out to be a trip that leads to many realizations and much needed lessons.

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is not at all what I expected.  It is a love story, but a very different kind of love story.  I appreciated its realness and the fact that it doesn’t follow the same basic formula.  There were moments where I sympathized with Arden and moments where I was annoyed by her, but ultimately I found her actions understandable and she does learn and grow from her experiences.  The book also really speaks to how people are not always the way we assume they are, and quite often expectations don’t meet reality.  I didn’t fully engage with the story all the way through and felt it could have been edited down a little bit.  But overall I enjoyed its uniqueness and its overall message: people aren’t perfect, situations aren’t ideal.  All we can do is just try our best.

Favourite quote: “…I don’t want to mistake something good for something better.  And I’m going to trust that the best parts of my life haven’t happened yet.”

*E-copy provided by NetGalley for review.

The Dailies: Achieving Your Long Term Goals

IMG_2526About a month ago I read Louder Than Words by Todd Henry, which discusses ways to find your authentic voice.  There are many points that really stuck with me, with one in particular being the concept of “dailies.”  I wanted to share this as it is something I have found to be very useful in my own life.

“The dailies” is a group of activities done everyday that is set to keep you on track.  Many of us have plenty of things we intend to do but excuses are easy to come by and we end up putting them off.  Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and before you know it there is a chasm of time between you and where you thought or hoped you would be.   Continue reading “The Dailies: Achieving Your Long Term Goals”

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

22716447“If my childhood, teens, and twenties were about wanting people to like me, now I want people to know me.”

Mindy Kaling is back with a collection of personal essays tackling a variety of subjects, from relationships to confidence.  Her first book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? talked about her childhood, her friendships, her start in show business and the progression of her career.  In Why Not Me? Mindy gives us a look into her life and her experiences as a successful writer and actress, along with everyday issues and concerns.

I absolutely loved Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, which had me laughing out loud many times.  Her second book definitely still has that Mindy Kaling charm and humour, but feels a little more serious and personal. It shows maturity and a woman who knows who she is, recognizes her faults, insecurities and is very open and honest about it all.  I didn’t connect to every single chapter but I truly appreciate the honest and funny nature of her writing, along with the overall message: feel entitled to what you want to achieve, but work hard enough to earn it.

Favourite quote: “People’s reaction to me is sometimes “Uch, I just don’t like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great.” But it’s not that I think I’m so great. I just don’t hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don’t let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.”

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick deWitt

25089757“What do you want from your life, Lucy?”

Lucien (Lucy) Minor wants something to happen in his life.  He is without friends or love, and is an unambitious boy overall.  He is not taken seriously by the people around him and even his parents don’t have any kind of affection for him.  He receives an offer of employment at Castle Von Aux, for the position of undermajordomo.  He deems this an opportunity to remake himself in a new place and start anew.  A fresh beginning.  But his new home is not what he expected, filled with mysterious happenings and odd behaviour.

Undermajordomo Minor is unique, bizarre and wonderfully original. Because it is so unique, makes it a worthy read all on its own, but what makes it so special is the excellent writing and inspiring dialogue.  I found myself smiling throughout many of the exchanges between characters.

“He claims not to have been spying, Mewe.”

“Oh?  And what would he call it, then?”

“Passing by, is how he describes it.”

Yet more murmuring.  Mewe said, “Ask him for us, please, if he believes one must be in motion to be passing?”

Lucy admitted that yes, he supposed one did have to be, and Memel restated this.

“Well, then,” Mewe continued, “how does he explain the fact of his being stationary at my window?”

Memel raised his eyebrows. “Were you stationary, Lucy?”

“Perhaps I lingered for a moment.”

“Now he is calling it a momentary lingering,” Memel said.

Along with the dialogue I found the story itself captivating.  Lucy is an interesting boy who is prone to lying, but there is something quite likeable about him.  The fact that he is a lone soul searching for love and a place to call home makes him an endearing character.  One that you can’t help but root for. Undermajordomo Minor is a novel that’s weird, different and truly stands on its own.

Favourite quote: “… his face bespoke an exhilaration, for how curious life was, how unfathomably novel, and occasionally wonderful.”

Book trailer for Undermajordomo Minor:

Girl On The Run by B. R. Myers

BLOG“There’s no such thing as a safe bet. You might be the fastest runner in the heat, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win the final race.”

Seventeen-year-old Jesse Collins has big dreams for the future, which include university and a track and field scholarship. As a proven track and field star, those dreams are very much within reach. However, after the sudden death of her father and the circumstances under which it occurred, Jesse gives up running and suddenly her future is not that certain. When summer rolls around she decides to take a position as a camp counselor, and hopes that in getting away from her town and her comfort zone she can find a way to being her old self again. Things get a little complicated when due to a mix-up she is put in charge of four unruly boys and her summer becomes quite eventful. It becomes a summer of challenges, competition, rivalries, humour, unexpected romance, friendships, and new beginnings.

Girl On The Run was a very pleasant surprise and I am happy to have come across it. I found it to be a fun read, filled with clever and witty dialogue. Jesse is an engaging protagonist and her inner dialogue and commentary is the main highlight of the book. It made me smile, laugh and captured my full attention from the beginning. I enjoyed Jesse’s camp adventures, misadventures, and the process of discovery and personal growth that she experiences. The characters are interesting and entertaining, although some do feel one-dimensional. Overall, Girl On The Run is an enjoyable read that captures the pain of loss, the journey of self-discovery, and the magic of summer camp.

Favourite quote: “I studied their vibrant faces. One wanted to be noticed. One wanted to have friends. One wanted a summer romance. One wanted to belong. And I wanted all of those things.”