To be Loved to the Bone by Beverly Maier

The Publisher’s take on this book: This collection explores love in all of its forms, from the darkest love to the love that makes you feel like you’re flying, love that holds you, and love that breaks you. To Love You To The Bone will chew you up and spit you out in all the right ways, but by the end of it, you will leave knowing that love is attainable and have your heart opened to all of the possibilities that love has for you.

He was the pen; she was the lighter.

He wrote his story. She set it on fire.

To be loved to the Bone by Beverly Maier

I love it when I am consumed by words, and this collection by Beverly is written in both long prose and short sentences and comes with simple artwork. She draws you in and releases you, more like giving you a moment to catch your breath before she drowns you in her hurt, elation, and sometimes anger- so you get it all in less than 200pages.

Verdict: 4 stars

I got to read this off Netgalley and I am glad I did.

Be gentle with the hearts that make their way into your hands.

Love doesn’t look the same on everyone and it is much easier to break things than it is to fix them.

To Be Loved to The Bone by Beverly Maier

About the Author: Beverly is a twenty-eight-year-old author based out of Central Florida. She is the author of two poetry collections, Detaching Roots and To Be Loved To The Bone. Read more about her here and buy her books: here

A Treat

Once in a while, I happen to actively seek out a book that gets my heart racing because the romantic in me doesn’t mind swooning.

And dear Reader, I present:

If you’d like to know how crazy or kinky I love my stories, read it here and thank or admonish me after!

Book Review: A Cobra’s Bite Doesn’t Hurt by Anil Nijhawan

The first line of this book reads:

Your Highness Mr Narendra Modi,

The story: Kalu, kidnapped from an orphanage at the age of fourteen and trained to pick pockets, is forced into a gang of thieves in Bangalore. When Babu, their ruthless gang leader, murders his best friend Ramesh, Kalu – fearing for his own life – runs away to Kolkata. While still being pursued by Babu he meets and falls in love with Tanya, a stunning and gifted career girl from an upper middle-class family.

Sir, if you ever come across a cobra unexpectedly, my advice is not to stare directly into its eyes.

Oh, I love the ingenuity of this book!

Who would have thought that it’d be in the form of a letter and not just any letter but one addressed to the Prime Minister of India and from a Street Urchin nonetheless. I love Kalu’s honesty and what hurt me most as I read this was how he took me along those streets in India, the hopes of children, the hurt and betrayal they experience at the hands of adults, the corrupt police and I was even angered by how the depiction of politicians in this book rings true for most of those in my country, Kenya. Same goes for the police!

The mode of storytelling is refreshing, for Kalu uses an old Sanyo recorder to talk to the Prime Minister. He admits that having grown up an orphan, first in an orphanage and then in the streets, he never learned to read or write.

Kalu’s charming, naive, sarcastic, hopeful…nostalgic, a hopeless romantic and sometimes, in reading you cannot help but weep for the children out on the streets of India as he depicts them and the lies and neglect that led them there.

Modiji, my Sanyo voice recorder did not start this morning. I had to hammer it several times to wake it up. Hope it lasts to the end of my story. In Japan, they would have thrown it away by now. But, we Indians don’t discard anything easily; we know how to recycle.

Rating: yellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-mdyellow-star-md

Buy a copy at: Amazon


About the author:

Born into a Punjabi family, Anil Nijhawan’s early schooling was in Kolkata, at the infamous (people have contradictory opinions) South Point School. His teacher of English, the charismatic Mr Utpal Dutt, an actor and a scholar of Shakespeare and English literature, instilled in Anil the love of English language at a young age. Anil Nijhawan now lives in the UK with his wife Adarsh and a family of gold fish in the garden pond. His career has embraced working in the computing industry and running his own business.

Visit his site: https://anilnijhawan.com/

Reading The Memo by Minda Harts

I’m all about books that advocate for the rights and well being of women, and more so black women, so a part of me was taken in by this title.

About the book:

From microaggressions to the wage gap, The Memo empowers women of color with actionable advice on challenges and offers a clear path to success. Most business books provide a one-size-fits-all approach to career advice that overlooks the unique barriers that women of color face. In The Memo, Minda Harts offers a much-needed career guide tailored specifically for women of color.

Available on Amazon: Kindle price $13.99

In ten chapters the author explores the challenges women of color experience from the narratives they are told and tell themselves, to the policies at their workplaces and she progresses into areas that they need to strengthen or invest in to secure a seat at the table.

Her tone of writing is both firm and friendly. You get the feeling and in reading her experiences understand that Sis’ has been there and felt that. So, it takes more of a mentor approach and that’s why I was impressed that in the very beginning she said ‘have a notebook and pen ready, because you’ll need to take notes.’

And here’s one note that I want to share with you:

Hear me loud and clear: Articulate your desire to advance and own your past experience. Don’t let other people’s biases and stupidity stop your show. It starts with you. You are your best advocate.

This book delves into an area we play down because we don’t want to be seen as over ambitious and it often hurts us. I kept taking notes, and reflecting on my career and the decisions I have made over the years and where it has led me.

No matter what you do, don’t leave your career advancement in the hands of someone else. If you do, they will keep you in the same basic-ass box they put other women in.  This is a huge part of investing in yourself.

Don’t treat your career like a mediocre relationship.

Since the decision to isolate and maintain a safe physical distance was set in place due to Corona, I’ve had more than 100 days to think about my life, my values, and also accept that I wasn’t prepared for any of this and as much as it scares me, it’s not as bad as not putting the effort to re-examine my values, goals and career plans.

My take on this: 5 stars

Anyone who reads this  book, more so any black woman who gets this and has long struggled with getting a seat at the table or better yet bringing her own table will learn a lot about planning, networking and speaking up.

About the author:

Visit her website, read about this program she runs to empower women of color and listen to her podcast as well: http://mindaharts.com/

 

Wiving: A Memoir of Loving then Leaving the Patriarchy by Caitlin Myer

Wiving

I love a book that gets me thinking and totally frown when it makes me feel things I wouldn’t want to acknowledge- like loss, emotional pain and most of all, anger…you know the kind that you sealed in your subconscious and swore you’ll never let it get the best of you, but here comes a trigger and bham! You’re all over the place?

Yes, that kind of anger.

About the book:

At thirty-six years old, Caitlin Myer is ready to start a family with her husband. She has left behind the restrictive confines of her Mormon upbringing and early sexual trauma and believes she is now living her happily ever after . . . when her body betrays her. In a single week, she suffers the twin losses of a hysterectomy and the death of her mother, and she is jolted into a terrible awakening that forces her to reckon with her past—and future.
 
This is the story of one woman’s lifelong combat with a culture—her “escape” from religion at age twenty, only to find herself similarly entrapped in the gender conventions of the secular culture at large, conventions that teach girls and women to shape themselves to please men, to become good wives and mothers. The biblical characters Yael and Judith, wives who became assassins, become her totems as she evolves from wifely submission to warrior independence.

My purpose is to make you happy, he types. In this way he has made himself a wife. To be a wife means to harness your desires, your ego, and concentrate your life’s purpose in your husband. I want something larger, I type.

The author shuttles between her childhood and her present time merging her memories of what she grew up believing and expecting womanhood to be. She draws from her Mormon background, her mother’s pains and struggles and it is almost as if she sees herself in the memory of her mother and she struggles with her loss, fears, disappointments in love and being a wife, and more so finding her essence in a sea of societal and moral expectations.

I love the title, the cover and the tone of this book.

Perhaps, what I struggled with the most while reading this book is how much I could relate to most of what she shared especially on the early indoctrination of girls on what it means to be a good mother, wife and more so on the load of expectations centered around pleasing and seeing to the needs of a man…and that right there, triggered so many questions I’ve had over the years.

It also reminded me of how my Mom was treated when our Dad passed away…and when it got to that point, I cast this book aside and pretended not to care.

And some of the phrases that I highlighted because they truly spoke to my experiences of growing female, seeing how women are treated and the like were:

Once you believe some humans should by nature, through gender or skin or difference, occupy a lower more limited place in the world, once you believe they owe you their love, their attention, their obeisance, it leaks into everything, and this has been the story since the first story was written.

The other one was:

I trained for wiving but I’m not made to be a wife.

I am certain that this book will attract and receive mixed reviews and inasmuch as that would come to be, it doesn’t change the fact that we are brought up on expectations, and our parents dreams, those of their parents and generations before us are fed to us. Some of us carry this torch well, others burn under the weight of it, and some choose to walk in their own path.

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The book’s retailing on various platforms around $24.99 for the hardcover and $16.99 for the ebook, you can select your retailer-> here

About the author: Visit her website: https://www.caitlinmyer.com/about

 

Second Chances: What I learned reading An Exaltation of Larks by Suanne Laqueur

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About the book: 

Across three decades and two continents, Suanne Laqueur’s fifth novel explores the unpredictability of sexual attraction, how family ties are forged, torn and mended, and how love’s downfall can turn to exaltation.

You should be able to look your income in the face- Gloria Landes

I came across this book on Netgalley- and I was intrigued by the title before I read the blurb. An exaltation of larks…well, the only collective noun I know in my sleep is a pride of lions.

The story takes us back to Chile in September in the 1970s when Pinochet’s got his grip on power and the country and we are introduced to eleven-yer-old Alejandro Penda- who watches the city crumble and with it, first his Father, then his mother and unborn sibling. He arrives alone in America and is taken in by the Larks.

Javier del Soto on the other hand, flees from home when his family shun him for getting caught kissing his cousin Nesto. Apparently, you could be a lot of things as a Dominican but never show signs of being gay. He takes on as many odd jobs as he can, anything to eat and stay alive- and also forget the insults and beatings he received from his Uncle. He meets Gloria Landes and she mentors him into being one of the Manhattan’s top-paid male escorts and he meets Alejandro/Alex and Valerie in his twenties and their story is sealed from then.

The author’s writing brings to life their struggles, the wounds they carry into adulthood- their zest for life and she gives you a front row seat into their decision making processes as well.

I loved this book and Jav carries with him one thing his Father told him:

Second chances are given or made.- Rafael Gil del Soto

In weaving their paths and working through their childhood trauma, Alex and Jav, find that they are one- their pain, their fears, it’s like being home in the presence of one another and it broke my heart when Jav at some point said it;

“Same,” Jav said. “It’s not the larks that kill you. It’s the exaltation.”

And I’m big on moments in books that move me to tears or to smile at the sheer truth in it and Gloria Landes had such moments in this book. Her relationship to and with Jav, is the one ray of sunshine that I see Jav carry on and replicate with Ari later on in the story.

“Every date you have will be an opportunity to learn something,” Gloria said. “Never stop learning. You already like to read, which is an advantage. Read everything. Newspapers, magazines, books. Be informed. Be up-to-date. Be both interesting and interested in others. Everyone has something fascinating about them, Jav. Your job is to find it. Then you can fuck it.”

The best part is that the story does not end there- Javier’s/Jav’s story continues in the next book in the Venery series, “A Charm of Finches,” and finally wraps up back in Chile in “A Scarcity of Condors.”

This has been a great read this week and it’s the highlight of my week especially after having worked a lot on a project that I hope to launch towards the end of this year:

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“His uncle had collected people the same way he collected books and art.”- Alex

About the author:

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Visit her website: http://suannelaqueurwrites.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You Feel by Robert L. Leahy: Book Review

About the book: Don’t Believe Everything You Feel offers a groundbreaking approach blending CBT and emotional schema therapy to help you explore your own deeply held personal beliefs about emotions, determine if these beliefs are helpful or harmful, and find the motivation to adopt alternative, healthier coping strategies. Each chapter contains exercises such as self-assessment, expressive writing, or guided questioning to help you manage your emotions more productively.

My take on it: 4 stars

I was drawn to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy ( CBT) whilst studying Psychology and my undergraduate lessons were the very best on this. However, over the years, I learned that it’s never about what people want to do but what they are willing to do. And CBT asks that you put in the effort, a step by step approach to get better.

Dr. Leahy shares the Emotional Schema Therapy approach here which he developed years ago to help us cope with our emotions and at the core of it says that:

“it’s a realistic approach that proposes that difficult and pleasant emotions are all part of the experience of a full life. Rather than focus on feeling good, we focus on the capacity to feel everything and grow in the process.”

This is an insightful read one that even those who think they’ve mastered their emotions could learn a thing or two from.

I love the fact that it is very hands on, and is formatted as a workbook meaning that you read and evaluate and reflect on each chapter as you go on.

In it he shares his 5 principles of the Emotional Schema Therapy and goes on to expound on 6 wise strategies for coping with emotions that are positive as they are involving.


Where to get the bookAmazon

 

Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis: Book Review

Oh, I loved this book! Dave truly went there, he had the conversation that he didn’t want to and out of it wrote this book that called out most of the lies we tell ourselves.

About this book:

When Dave Hollis’s wife, Rachel, began writing her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Girl, Wash Your Face, he bristled at her transparency and her willingness to talk about such intimate details of their life. But when a looming career funk, a growing drinking problem, and a challenging trek through therapy battered the Disney executive and father of four, Dave began to realize he was letting untruths about himself dictate his life. As he sank to the bottom of his valley, he had to make a choice. Would he push himself out of his comfort zone to become the best man he was capable of being, or would he play it safe and settle for mediocrity?

In Get Out of Your Own Way,Dave tackles topics he once found it difficult to be honest about, things like his struggles with alcohol, problems in his marriage, and his insecurities about being a dad. Dave helps us see our own journeys more clearly as he unpacks the lies he once believed—such as “I Have to Have It All Together,” “Failure Means You’re Weak,” and “If They Doesn’t Need Me, Will They Still Want Me?”—and reveals the tools that helped him change his life.


My take on it:

It does not matter that his wife is also a great writer- calling out BS in women and the lies society indoctrinates in us- or that he’s writing from his life experiences as a man- this book is a great read because from the very beginning he calls out the truth on self-help books. He says “self-help is the tie between growth and fulfillment.”

He drives the point home “in order to grow, you need to put in the work and learn to kick the lies putting limits on who and what you can be.”

He calls you out before you give excuses. You’ve got to put in the work, like he learned to and continue doing so if you’re to get any better.

Some pointers that stood out for me and I am currently working on during this period of isolation are:

Commit to the habits that fuel you.

Success can mess up with you just as much as failure.

Roll up your sleeves and do the work

Redefine how you measure success in your work

A huge thank you to the publisher for granting me an eARC, this book will appeal to everyone who’s ever felt like they aren’t enough and the tone of writing makes it a book you can read anywhere at any time, with take away points for reflection.

Verdict: Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...Vector Yellow Star Material, Star Clipart, Creative Star, Stars ...

Get a copy:  from Amazon

Are We Done Fighting? by Matthew Legge: Book Review

Are We Done Fighting?: Building Understanding in a World of Hate and Division

Three things stand out in this book: we’ve got to communicate better, as human beings we learn a lot of things and hate, anger, biases, prejudices are part of the things we learn and can unlearn as well, and finally- to create and continue living in peace, we’ve got to put in the work.

About the book:

Unfounded beliefs and hateful political and social divisions that can cascade into violence are threatening to pull the world apart. Responding to fear and aggression strategically and with compassion is vital if we are to push back against the politics of hate and live in greater safety and harmony.

But how to do it?

Are We Done Fighting? is brimming with the latest research, practical activities, and inspirational stories of success for cultivating inner change and spreading peace at the community level and beyond.


I love the format of this book, especially the tips to be learned at the end of each chapter and the group activities. This book right here is an action-oriented read and the author draws from lots of examples, occurrences and case studies all over the world to share insights on human interaction and conflict. It’s a great resource for schools, groups, communities and an even much better training tool for Facilitators.

What the author shares, or the skills he proposes herein are not new- rather his approach, the step by step guide through this book key in the activity sessions is what is refreshing. He comes from the point of view that it can be done, that we can understand each other amidst the hate, fake news and division in the world- but only if we put in the work, if we are willing to check ourselves, to take a step back and evaluate our emotions and our actions as well.

This book and the implementation and success of most of what is shared herein, lies in the ability to communicate and though this is key and a fundamental aspect of humanity- I’d be interested in taking this beyond words and into actions, for people who are deaf, blind, mute-who may have experienced violence and need healing as well.

So, I’m glad I got to read this there’s a quote that opens up Chapter 2 in the book that spoke to me and I’ll share it:

As long as you cannot face yourself and love even those ugly parts, I will be left with the work of trying to love what you cannot bear to Witness.

To the publishing and marketing team (especially Keira) thanks for reaching out and providing me with a copy of this book, I’m challenged to explore my understanding and interaction to enhance peace.

You can buy the book online at: Amazon


About the author:

Matthew Legge

Matthew Legge is passionate about making communication honest, simple, and accessible. He’s worked in the nonprofit sector since 2006 with a focus on building health, dignity, and human rights. Hes supported locally-led peace initiatives in North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Visit: https://arewedonefighting.com/