Nothing Wrong: You Do You Review

“There is nothing wrong with you.”

I’m of two minds when it comes to what many people consider self-help books. I think their intentions are often good, but I find a lot of them largely unhelpful when it comes to someone actually improving things themselves. Or maybe that’s just the way they play out for me.

But having said that, I have always considered Sarah Knight’s books in a slightly different vein than the typical self-help books. I own her previous two books, The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A F*ck and Get Your Sh*t Together, and really enjoyed reading them. So I guess it’s no surprise that I jumped on preordering her third book, You Do You: How To Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want. A mouthful, right? Let’s just call it You Do You for now, okay?

Like the previous books, I would consider You Do You a no-nonsense self-help book. Sarah returns to her classic blunt tone—this book certainly isn’t for someone who would be offended by occasionally strong language (think curse words). But I think she blends the blunt tone with a dollop of humour—You Do You definitely kept me laughing. I guess it kind of reminds me of talking to a good friend. Not a friend in particular, but something friends might say to one another if they needed a kick in the pants. Make sense?

Overall, I think this book, like her others, has a lot of merit. There really isn’t anything wrong with liking things a certain way or asking for something you want. Truly, so long as you are not a complete asshole about it! I also think the blunt tone allows for an easier time of processing the information. It’s not pandering to the reader, which is how I feel about quite a few typical self-help books.

I’m not sure about in practice with this book, or Sarah Knight’s other books, just yet. I’ve only really read them, but I haven’t put a lot of the words into practice. I’ve been thinking about doing it, because I agree with the vast majority of her work. I think, so long as the reader considers her words and implements them with the right idea in mind (read: does not act like an asshole about things during this process), these books can truly help individuals take more control over their lives. You Do You is a great addition to the lineup. While you can read it alone, skip the others, and still gain benefits, I would actually highly recommend reading all of Sarah Knight’s books and doing so in the publication order. This is because each of them builds on the one that came before both in the advice Sarah gives, as well as  in the background Sarah provides on herself.

If you have read any of Sarah Knight’s books, including You Do You, I would love to hear what you think about them. If you have actually tried implementing the things she talks about—I would love that even more. And if you haven’t read these books? If you want to improve aspects of your life? I would buy a copy of them. And one for your best friend.

~~**~~

Title: You Do You: How to Be Who You Are and Use What You’ve Got to Get What You Want

Author: Sarah Knight

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

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Fly: The Orphan’s Tale Review

The Orphan's Tale Review
“We cannot change who we are. Sooner or later we will all have to face ourselves.”

The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff is simple at first, then turns into so much more than one girl trying to survive in a harrowing war. Young Noa falls pregnant from a Nazi soldier, but is then forced to give up her child shortly after its birth.  Cast out by her family, she eventually stumbles upon a boxcar full of children taken from their families. A heartbreaking piece of not just fiction, but elements of real history, as I have since found out.

In an instant, she rescues one of them and begins to run from just about everyone and everything, keeping secrets close to her chest even when she joins with a German circus and begins to train as an aerialist with Astrid, a Jewish woman also on the run from her former life.

While I do not count out any one genre, I will read anything if it intrigues me in even the slightest manner, one of the genres I am currently most attracted to is historical fiction. Much of this, I find, is based around World War 2. Thought, it is not so much focused on the fighting as it is on people attempting to survive, whether it be on the run, in concentration camps, or tucked away in countries like England.

This is definitely a take I have not seen before, in that I had not heard of a circus actually hiding some Jewish people as they travelled through Germany and France. I certainly enjoyed the perspective, since it provided hope regarding some good people in what seemed like an insurmountable sea of evil.

But I was not hooked by The Orphan’s Tale, not at first. The perspective shifts and at times does not appear to be quite linear, though that may also be a by-product of the shifting perspectives and the inherent complexity it brings to the plot. I have always said books with shifting perspectives are immediately harder to follow and require a lot more effort on the author’s part to make everything clear to the reader.

There were compelling scenes in the beginning and scattered throughout the middle, but I think quite a bit of the impact is lost with the shifts in perspective, the downtime, et cetera. I’m not sure what I would change, but there certainly is still work to be done with this text, no doubt about it.

Having said all of that, the ending of the book is what really got me and is why I would still recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, with an emphasis on those interested in World War 2. It brings elements together and to a close in a fascinating and unexpected fashion. I would not have guessed this ending, but it is a great one and I do not think I would change it.

So, I guess my opinion stands as this: read The Orphan’s Tale for the way in which the story is wrapped up, but be wary of the middle and take pains to keep focused on the plots and make sure they are straight in your mind. You do not want to find yourself lost.

~~**~~

Title: The Orphan’s Tale

Author: Pam Jenoff

Publisher: Mira Books

Shiny: Magpie Murders Review

magpie murders review
“The most obvious conclusions are the ones I try to avoid.”

When I first heard about Magpie Murders, I knew very little. Frankly, all I can remember from the first whisperings is the fact it was a mystery and the idea behind it intrigued me. I figured, as you might expect, it was simply a straightforward murder and accompanying investigation. This was certainly not the case.

Magpie Murders features Susan Ryeland, who was recently given Alan Conway’s new manuscript for a book entitled Magpie Murders. It is, she explains to the reader, a book that changed her life. She goes on to include the manuscript and lets us form our own opinions of a classic British mystery similar to the likes of the infamous Agatha Christie.

I love the idea of a story within a story, which is what we get with Horowitz’s book. I also love that the second story is a classic British one. I have a lot of experience with other sorts of mysteries, but less so with the simple, classic method. As such, it was a refreshing change to visit a town and delve into a simple detective story. It really makes me want to read some of Agatha Christie’s work. Perhaps those will go on my list when I next have an opening.

One criticism you might hear regarding Magpie Murders is that it could have used a copy editor. I’m not sure about this, as the overall book presents the manuscript as unedited. This is why Susan has it, after all, she is meant to go over everything. Besides, I know from my education that copy editing is essentially the last piece. You go over the bigger picture and plot stuff first. You would correct some mistakes as you go, should you notice them, but it is not the focus until the overall story and significant points are nailed down.

Magpie Murders, both the manuscript and the bigger story, do what I like any mystery I read to do. They do not allow me to guess the ending, the whodunit, before I arrive at their intended reveal. I never truly try to guess, but when I do manage to figure it out, it always dramatically lessens my enjoyment. I want the surprise. I want to be fooled. I love nothing more in Magpie Murders than the fact it managed to do it multiple times.

The writing itself isn’t particularly flowery, but again it is not something that would suit this sort of mystery novel. The writing you get does match the genre, which is more important than any descriptions, flowy language, et cetera, at least if you ask me.

If you are a fan of mystery novels even just a little, I would highly recommend reading Magpie Murders. Even with the idea of a story within a story, the plot is something easy to follow and yet I am still willing to bet this book will fool you in the end. So I ask you to share when you do read this book: Was I right? Were you fooled?

~~**~~

Title: Magpie Murders

Author: Anthony Horowitz

Publisher: HarperCollins

Mind Matters: My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward Review

My Lovely Wife In The Psych Ward by Mark Lukach is a memoir detailing his account of caring for his wife, Giulia, who suffers from a severe mental illness, originally diagnosed as schizophrenia and later as bipolar disorder. It starts telling their story prior to the first major episode, and carries on quite a ways through their lives together, including through the birth of their son.

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What Up, Everyone: How To Be A Bawse Review

“So if you’re drowning, keep your life jacket on and fight. But once you’re able to swim, don’t convince yourself you forgot how to. Take your life jacket off, front-crawl your way to the shore, walk off that beach, and set your GPS to the top of a hill, because you WILL conquer the climb.”

If you’ve spent any kind of time on YouTube, chances are you have heard of Superwoman in some capacity, even a fleeting mention. Her real name is Lilly Singh, and she is a Canadian who creates all sorts of videos, from vlogs to sketches and more. At some point along the way, she decided she wanted to write a book. How To Be A Bawse is that book.

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