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text 2017-05-01 16:29
The H Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness
The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness - Jill Filipovic

My first review for Bust Magazine is online today and featured on the front page! http://bust.com/books/19625-jill-filipovic-h-spot-review.html.


Pitching (and getting rejected) is finally starting to pay off!

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review 2016-04-05 22:18
Big Magic: Helped Me To Make Peace With My Creativity
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear - Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic is a self-supporting book regarding creativity, and is aimed at writers and artists, but it's also, for anyone who wants to inject some creative magic into their every day lives. The questions Gilbert proposes are simple ones: What are you curious about? And what would you keep doing, even if you knew you would fail? 


Gilbert’s approach to creativity is sometimes a bit mystical, but it’s also deeply democratic, even tilting towards radical. In some parts I rolled my eyes, but then there were other parts that had me fist pumping in solidarity. I can imagine my Literary Criticism and Writing Professors turning absolutely green at some of Gilbert’s ideas. “Are you one of those people who believe that the arts are the most serious and important thing in the world?” she asks about 100 pages in. “If so, my friend, then you and I must part ways right here.” She thinks creativity can be meaningful, sure, but she wants you to get off your high horse about it, and not quit your day job.


More importantly, she rejects the idea of certain people being geniuses, instead she claims that everyone has a genius that comes and goes, and it's our job to work humbly, without ever expecting it to arrive, yet at the same time, to but be ready for when it does; as it's very often without pomp and circumstance.


So, for instance, you might be gardening and you'll get an idea about a flower, so you do some research on said flower, and then that research will lead you to another clue, and then another clue will follow that. Gilbert proposes that it's our job to follow that chain of intrigue to see where it will lead. Hint: It's often not where you'd expect, so just go with it.


“I cannot even be bothered to think about the difference between high art and low art. I will fall asleep with my face in the dinner plate if someone starts discoursing to me about the academic distinction between true mastery and mere craft,” she writes. “I don’t ever want to confidently announce that this person is destined to become a great artist while that person should give it up.” In other words, Gilbert believes every single person has innate creative ability; it’s our job to tap into it, if we so wish.


Furthermore, Gilbert suggests that we should stop searching for the idea no one else has had. Gilbert thinks people are way too obsessed with “original” ideas, and would do better to find more "authentic" ones, instead.


In conclusion, this book helped me to make peace with my own creativity on a lot of different levels, and for that I am grateful. Since reading this book, I have taken concrete steps to shift my own inner dialogue, and it has had a lot of positive changes in all aspects of my life. 



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review 2016-02-06 19:12
Amanda Palmer Is A Real Person!
The Art of Asking - Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer --- musician, artist, connector of dots, blogger, tweeter, writer, philosopher, speaker, wife, friend, and most importantly human --- really pulls back the curtain in this book, to show us what she does behind the scenes to make the final product (what we see when we buy her music, her book, or live concert) happen, and it's pretty awesome, in my humble opinion.


She says that we ALL can ask for help from everyone, and in the age of the internet we're meeting more people in a week, than we'd met in a lifetime, before. She says it's all about putting yourself out there, trusting that you will get what you need, and being open to receiving the blessings. It's about shouting down from your open Windows (both literally, and figuratively in the form of blog, twitter, Instagram, etc) and inviting people in. 


It sounds easy, but for me, it's really hard. I didn't grow up in a family that asked for things. So, this is a grand challenge for me. However, I feel if I keep working on it a little bit at a time, it will become a habit, one that will hopefully change my life for the better. However, she says: 'there's no trust without risk, and there's always new trolls that will try to squat under the new bridge you are building; but if you never try, you'll never get anywhere, and that's scarier than anything.' I tend to agree. 


So, my personal challenge will be to open up my Windows; open up my throat and heart, be empathetic, be authentically vulnerable, and ask for the things I need ---from myself, from my lover, from my friends, from my family, from my neighbors, from strangers --- and being open to the blessings in whatever form they may take, knowing that the asking is unconditional, no strings attached, and the person being asked is welcomed to say no, but just might say yes.


As I'm writing this, a song has popped into my head: 'What's looooove?..It's about us, it's about trust.' It's about tightening the net in some ways, and letting it out in others. It's about using your own set of gifts to make the world better. I'm excited to try, in order to see what happens :)


Thank you Amanda Palmer for writing this book, for being your own beautifilled self, for putting it out there and inviting us all in, to give it a try.


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review 2014-09-07 00:00
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Half Moon House Novella (Half Moon House Series)
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Half Moon House Novella (Half Moon House Series) - Deb Marlowe A gutsy American heiress vs an English Viscount. Who will win? Or will they both? LOVED this short story!
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review 2014-05-31 02:17
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness by Deb Marlowe
Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness: A Half Moon House Novella (Half Moon House Series) - Deb Marlowe

A spunky American chit who only wants to help her friend and a tired worn out Englishman who only wants to protect his nephew from scandal make for a pretty fun read in this novella. This is third (book 1 and then another novella) in the Half Moon House series.  I have not read the other books but did not feel lost in this one, although, I can tell there were aforementioned characters that others who had read previous books in the series would enjoy seeing. 

Liberty, spunky American, is bored in staid uptight London and decides to help a new friend find her one true love. Liberty is the typical feisty regency heroine but thankfully, never crosses over into TSTL territory. Simon, tired worn out Englishman, has had a lifetime of helping to keep others away from scandal and is determined to keep his nephew from falling into ruin.  As you can imagine, Liberty and Simon butt heads quite a lot. As you can probably also imagine, Liberty meddles her friend and herself into some romantic entanglements. (I also have a meddlesome friend, she has never meddled me an Englishman, tired worn out or not. I'll have to talk to her about this) There is some witty banter (tad mellow), mystery, and The Big Secret. However, since this is a novella expect this all to be fast paced and lacking in the depth and breadth columns.  

This was my first Deb Marlowe book and I can definitely say I will be reading her again and will be going back and picking up book one.  I like the feel of the series and honestly, any author who uses the phrase "stop skinny dipping in the scandal broth" deserves to be read.

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