Review: Girl, Stop Apologizing

Title: Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals

Author: Rachel Hollis

Publisher: HarperCollins Leadership

Length: 240 pages

Genre: self-help

Rachel Hollis has built her platform on the idea that women are powerful and should embrace their dreams. In a companion to Girl, Wash Your Face, Hollis explores excuses women need to stop using, behaviors to adopt, and skills to acquire. Peppering her advice with personal anecdotes, Hollis explores the idea that you should go after your dreams with a solid plan and without shame.

I really liked this book, as should be evidenced by the fact that I read it twice in about two months. The first time, I listened to it on audio. Hollis narrates with gusto and enthusiasm that makes it really fun to listen to. It’s easy to get caught up with her outlook and her belief that if you work hard enough, you too can achieve your goal, whatever that goal is. My hard copy is highlighted all over the place and I may even go back and take notes so I can refer to them in the future.

Things I like about the book:

  1. Hollis’s positive outlook.
  2. Her advice on the excuses, behaviors, and skills.
  3. Her 10-10-1 guide to narrowing down your future dream life to 10 dreams to 1 goal to work for.
  4. Her disdain for the term “girl-boss” (a term that, I too, am not fond of).
  5. Her personal stories.

Things I didn’t like:

Not much. I mean, I felt like her story about her boob job was just in there because she wanted to tell a funny story about getting a boob job, but it’s her book. She can do that if she wants. And it was funny. Her story about Amsterdam stressed me out because I’m a planner, but I didn’t dislike it. Yeah, there wasn’t really anything about the book I wouldn’t like.

I would definitely recommend this book. If you are looking for a fun, lighthearted, but serious self-help book that will help you organize your dreams into goals, this is a great book for you!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Each week, participants are invited to answer three questions:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading:

I think I’m overextending myself a bit this week. I’m reading Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which I love, Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin, which is interesting, Rage by Jonathan Maberry, which is super intense,and I’m listening to 13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don’t Do by Amy Morin, which is good. I’m enjoying everything I’m reading, I’m just reading a lot.

Recently Finished

Even though I listened to Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis a month or so ago, I bought the book and reread it in my spare time (I’m not even being sarcastic; I read during recess). I quite enjoyed the reread and got a lot out it.

Reading next: I have no idea what I’m reading next. Either something off the huge pile of books in my room, or I’ll get something I don’t need from the library. I can’t focus enough to decide.

What are you reading this week?

Top 5 Audiobooks

It’s Top 5 Tuesday time! Top 5 Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Bionic Bookworm. This week’s topic is top 5 audiobooks.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows is a funny book on its own. Add in the narrator, Katherine Kellgren, and it’s laugh out loud, roll on the floor hilarious. This book was so much fun to listen to. I couldn’t stop listening to it. Every character, every part, every nuance was so well done. Kellgren has such a sly style. You could hear the wink and the nudge at the shenanigans, but she never went overboard and made it a parody. It was just perfect, and I loved every moment of this book.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston was the first audiobook I listened to. I didn’t know what to expect going in and was unsure if it was the medium for me, but this book quickly won me over. It has duel narrators, and both Elle and Dairen’s voices were really well done. While not as hilarious as My Lady Jane, this book was solid and entertaining.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis is a non-fiction book. Part memoir, part self-help, Hollis herself reads it. She does it with an upbeat enthusiasm that really got my charged. I listened to the last bit after going through a terrible moment at work, and it absolutely washed that terribleness away in a fit of rah-rah-rah. I think she’s an interesting writing and an excellent narrator and found the book engaging.

I read Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett about ten years ago and really enjoyed it. I loved both Aziraphale and Crowley, probably a little too much, but that’s fine. I liked the idea of the Antichrist being misplaced and all the hullabullo that went along with it. I thought the narrator of this did an excellent job. There were a few things I didn’t like–Adam being the main one–but, overall, I thought he was great.

I went back and forth on whether to include Star Trek: Q-in-Law by Peter David on the list, but ultimately decided I had to. The problem with it is, despite the fact it says it’s unabridged, it’s totally abridged. An entire subplot is dropped! I only know that because I’ve read the book 53 million times. However, it’s narrated by John Delancie, who played Q, and Majel Barret, who played Lwaxana Troi, and it’s just so well done. They are perfect together, and it’s a real shame that the characters never interacted on the show. I would have loved for this book to be adapted into the show; it would have been comedy gold. At last I have the audiobook. And, really, who needs a Wesley subplot?

What are some of your favorite audiobooks?

Autumn Tag

I saw this tag on Victorious Pages and thought it looked like fun. Since I’m currently juggling fifteen million books and finishing none, I thought I’d do this instead of my usual Monday review.

Hot Chocolate – what is your comfort book?

I’m sure it will come as no surprise if you’ve been around awhile that my comfort read is Beauty by Robin McKinley. It’s my favorite book and whenever I need a pick-me-up, I always return to it.

Pumpkin Carving – what is your favorite creative outlet?

I love writing, but I also love singing and making costumes. If I had to choose one, I’d say singing, because it’s the easiest to do at the spur of the moment.

Falling Leaves – changes that appear bad but you secretly love?

I actually kind of like it when the time changes. Not in the long run, because I get depressed when it’s dark, but the first few days of waking up to light and getting home when the sun is setting gives me a cozy feeling.

Pumpkin Spiced Latte – something you love that others tend to judge

Hmmm, I’m not sure. I love getting up early, but the trade-off is I have to go to bed early, and I think people judge that. Adults go to bed after a certain time, and I go to bed before that accepted time. Even my mom is like, “You go to bed that early? Why?” Well, I wake up around five. Sometimes four thirty. I need my sleep.

Bonfire Night – what makes you explode with joy?

Going to Disneyland or the beach. I love both those places. In an ideal world, Disneyland would be on the beach.

Fright Night – favorite scary book or film

Is Interview with the Vampire scary? Because that book and probably 28 Days Later for film.

Halloween candy – favorite thing to eat

Anything chocolate.

Scarves – your autumn ‘must-have’ accessory

Gloves. My hands get cold so easily. Of course, the gloves don’t really do anything, but I dare to dream.

Fire – a book or film that burns your soul

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. OMG, I love that book so much. All the characters are wonderful, the plot is great, and it just makes me so happy.

Toffee apples – a book or film that seems one thing but really has a different inside.

I can’t really think of anything.

I’ve had quite a few new followers in the last few weeks, so if you just started following my blog, consider yourself tagged. I also tag anyone who wants to do this.

Weekly Wrap-up

It’s been a busy week! Most of my week was taken up with drama with my phone. To save money, I decided to switch carriers, then went about it all wrong and lost phone service for two days. I spent most of Wednesday and Thursday night trying to get it all resolved. I didn’t get much writing or reading done, but I did manage to do some.

The best part of the week was Thursday, when I got home to find a package in my mailbox. I was confused because I didn’t remember ordering anything. Then, I saw it was from a publisher. I tore it open and found that I’d won Rage by Jonathan Maberry in a Goodreads giveaway. Y’all, I was so excited I began jumping up and down. I love Jonathan Maberry’s books and have been so looking forward to reading this one. I’m so thrilled I won.

In other news, I’ve decided to try and submit some non-fiction, personal essays to various locations. I’m always on the lookout for beta readers, so if you’re interested in reading some short essays about my life, let me know. I’m confident in my fiction writing, but have no idea if my non-fiction writing is any good, so I need more help.

This week looks to be shaping up well. On Monday, I’m taking my class to the symphony, which I hope will be fun for them. I’m excited. Tuesday, I get to give a presentation at a staff meeting. In between all that, I’m trying to get back to the gym more consistently and am toying with the idea of running a 5K, which means I need to start running.

Reading wise, I’m currently reading about four books. How do you tackle reading multiple books at once? I read a chapter or two from one, then switch and read the next, but maybe there’s a better system. Any ideas?

Monday: The Wellness Project by Phoebe Lapine (review)

Tuesday: Top 10 Extraordinary Book Titles

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Friday: Let’s Talk Bookish – Under represented Tropes or Characters

Saturday: Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Monday: Autumn Tag

Tuesday: Top 5 Audiobooks

Wednesday: WWW Wednesday

Thursday: Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis (review)

Friday: Are TBRs necessary to be a book blogger or reader?

How was your week?

Snippet Saturday – Dark Goddess

Previously: Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4

She stopped.  “Goddess?”

“That’s what you called yourself.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Do you ever dream, Kali?”

This guy was nuts.  “Doesn’t everyone?”

He inclined his head as if in acknowledgement.  “Your dreams should be more intricate.  More real.  They should be so real that they feel less like dreams and more like memories.  They are, in fact.  Memories of your past life.”

She let out a short, barking laugh.  “You mean when I was Cleopatra, right?  I remember that, sure.”

“You were much greater than a mere queen, Kali.  You were a goddess.  You should have memories.  You told me you saved them.  Your people, your rituals.  Things you did.  Places you’ve seen.  Being worshiped by hundreds like you.”

His voice was soft.  Seductive.  Her head spun, and her eyes grew heavy.

“You were thousands of years old.  As old as civilization itself.  And you drew people, young and old.  The strong and the weak, all of them were drawn to you.  To your power, your beauty.”

Her vision darkened. The miles of cars stretched out before them were suddenly replaced by a circle of people, all bowing, their pale skin glowing, reflecting the fire they were gathered around.  She stood above them on a platform, wearing a long heavy dress.  When she raised her hands, the people raised their faces, showing their fangs.

She blinked the image from her eyes.  Rubbed them against her hands, trying to clear it away.

“You must have dreams of yourself in the past,” Garrison was saying.  “Dreams of yourself in the desert.  In England. France.  Russia.  Persia.  You were so well traveled.”  The van picked up a little speed.  “But they’re not just dreams.  They’re memories of your past life.  You were a vampire.  The first.”

She tried to laugh, but it stuck in her throat.  Something tingled in the back of her mind.  Something like a half-buried memory or story she had forgotten.

“A vampire.”  It was crazy.  And yet…

Dreams she’d had rose in her mind’s eye.  She’d always had dreams, strange, vivid dreams where she was a queen or speaking to queens and famous people from history.  Dreams of strange ceremonies.  Of fields covered with dead, dirt stained with blood.  Of ripping out people’s throats with her teeth.  Tearing out their hearts with her hands.  Dreams of saving a beautiful slave from his Roman master.  Of pleading with a man in a garden to run away with her.  Dreams of pleasure and pain, dreams that filled her journals and kept her friends enthralled with the retelling.  Friends enthralled and psychologists worried.   For her, they were normal, part of every night’s less than restful sleep.

Then, she remembered one dream with startling clarity: Garrison.  Garrison, his pale, thin face rising over the backwards collar of a priest.  Garrison, standing in front of a church.  Him handing her a communion wafer.  Blessing her as she drank from the communion goblet.  His eyes burning fire as they gazed into hers.

That dream was chased away by the other dream.  The horrible dream.  The one she could never recall clearly, but there he was.  He was in it.  He stood over her, holding a knife, tears and blood streaking his face as he glared at her.  

Kali gasped, pain erupting all over her body.  It wasn’t the pain from where he’d hit her, but the other pain.  The phantom pain that had plagued her all her life.  Pains in the palms of her hands, her ankles, her stomach and shoulders.

Her heart.

Kali doubled over.  Her hands clenched her keychain, squeezing as she rode out the pain.

“I had to kill you,” Garrison said in a low, almost desperate, voice.  “I had to.  Your mind forgot and your body is new, but your soul remembers.”

Kill her.  He was going to kill her.

Kali forced her eyes open.  She’d managed to make a tiny tear in the duct tape with her keychain.  She grabbed at it with her teeth.  Tugged.

The tape came apart, ripping under the pressure.  She yanked her wrists apart and stabbed at the tape on her ankles with her keychain.  Broke it and pulled it off.

“Well, you’re not going to kill me this time.”

Garrison whirled, looking over his shoulder. “Kali, no!”  He reached out, grabbing for her.

The van smashed into the car in front of them.  She was thrown forwards and then backwards again.  The airbag hit Garrison in the face.

Shaking the dizziness off, Kali grabbed the handle of the door and pulled it open.  She tumbled out of the van onto the asphalt, elbows skidding over it, skin tearing off.

“What the hell, lady!” someone shouted.  A car honked.  Tires rolled frighteningly close to her head.

Garrison coughed behind her.  Wheezed out, “Kali!”

She jumped to her feet and ran.  Every car on the freeway seemed to erupt in a storm of horns.  People stuck their heads out of their windows.  They shouted at her.  Waved fingers. 

She kept running.

Garrison shouted again behind her.  She didn’t look back.  Instead, she found an opening in the traffic and darted into the lane.

A car slammed on its brakes.  It stopped so close to her, Kali could feel the heat from its engine through her clothes.  She stumbled and fell against it bracing her hands on its too-hot-hood.

“Christ, you okay?” the driver shouted.

Kali shook her head and pushed herself up.  She finished crossing the lane and began to run along the shoulder.  Her feet pounded the pavement. Her ankle throbbed in pain. Lungs burned. Ahead, cars lined up on the exit ramp. She ran alongside them until she hit the street.

Kali had no idea where she was.  Los Angeles wasn’t her city. She’d been there before, but never to this area.  She was completely lost, bleeding, scared, and alone.

She kept running.