The Car with a Soul by Ruchira Khanna. Blog tour

Thanks a lot to Travelling Pages Tours and the author for granting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4 stars.

Book summary

“Rahil is a car geek and attributes his desires to the four wheels of the car.

Amy is hungry for happiness as her career has hit the brakes.

Joan is on the lookout for a meaningful relationship as her unpleasant past gives her nightmares.

Tara was living a fulfilled life until her wheel of health gets a puncture.

When the four of them go on a journey of a lifetime, can each of them endure the travel while keeping their wheels balanced, or will their car lose its momentum along the way?

The Car with a Soul is an emotional, uplifting story of love, heartbreak, laughter, and friendship.”

This is a literary fiction about 4 people who are trying to get the best of the life they chose to live, their struggles through it and how their stories intertwine. The complexity of feelings and life itself are perfectly portrayed in their stories. I’d say it’s a character driven story in which psychology makes total sense.

Characters are believable, real and so relatable it’s impossible not to feel attached to any of them in their differences. I felt closer to Joan, the one who pushed everyone away from them because they couldn’t take rejection, humilliation and pain from human relationships any longer. Although she had her long-term friends to get through hardships, she tended to keep things to herself and somehow isolate from others.

The guiding theme of the story is the comparison between human life and a car. I loved the parallels I would have never throught of, the tyres being key aspects of human relationships and how easy and logical it seemed to compare both.

The writing style made this a really quick and easy read that I could not close. Had to read it in one sitting! There was only one issue I found in it; the characters’ thoughts. Let me explain myself. In many occasions I thought they were designed so the reader would know certain things, but I found that’s not how you talk to yourself. For example, at some point one of the characters is reflecting on the clothes they were wearing and detailed them as if thinking to themselves they didn’t look good, but I believe if you’re talking to yourself and thinking about it you’d say something like “Oh, these clothes look terrible”, but would not specify what they are; you’re looking at them.

But let me introduce you to the author:

Ruchira Khanna, a biochemist, turned writer, left her homeland of India to study in America, where she did her Master’s in Biochemistry and a certificate course in Technical Writing.

Her love of writing grew, and she started working on her books. After four years of freelancing, Ruchira published her first book, a fiction novel for young adults called Choices.

Ruchira Khanna draws inspiration from the issues that stalk our minds, she addresses such matters through her tales of fiction. Her character’s undergo a contemplative arc she hopes her readers will, which is why they classify each of her novels as, “one that will make you ponder.”

She blogs at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for three years. Many of her write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I’m so glad she started writing fiction!!

If you’re curious, you can find her here:

Twitter

https://www.instagram.com/ruchira.khanna/

Website

Facebook

Goodreads

If you like contemporary books focused on the characters and their emotions, this book is for you! I’d highly recommend.

Finally, I have a surprise if you read this far. There’s a giveaway!!

I encourage you to enter because you can get money for books! So, this is the link:

Hope you get to it. If you do so, please let me know in the comments.

I’ll live the blog tour schedule here, so you can visit the other bloggers!

Would love to know you’re having a great time this month!

Bear hugs!

Anne

Letters to Bizzy by John M. Tabor. Blog tour

Hi, little bears!!! I’m back with another book review.

Thanks to the author and Travelling Pages Tours for granting me an ARC of this book to review.

3.5 stars.

Letters to Bizzy finds a man, John Tibbits, past his prime staring down the barrel of old age, having to come to grips with his mother’s death and regrettable fact his dysfunctional youth has burdened him with a lifetime of unwelcome baggage. As he sorts through his mother’s personal effects he discovers boxes of unopened letters written some 50 years earlier from a man, Robert Guthrie, to his daughter, Bizzy. They tell the story of a life lived on a barrier island off the coast of North Carolina, Bogue Banks. There is nothing sensational in the telling, average by most accounts. However, through the eyes of Robert Guthrie we come to see beauty in the tragic, humor in the absurd, and sensitivity from the susceptible. It is in fact an apologetic to the ordinary lives we live. Those of John Tibbits and Robert Guthrie are inexplicably intertwined; and, it is only until the end, do we learn how. For both it is a journey through their own private battles.

John Tibbits is going through his mother’s things after her death, not feeling quite ready to do so. However, he finds a bundle of letters that seem unopened and spark his interest, truning this task from annoying and hard to eye-opening and compelling in this adult literary fiction.

The premise was really promising. A son being able to put the pieces of his mother’s family and herself together through a bunch of letters sent from his grandfather to his mother. She was alienated from him by her mother who, due to differences with his wife, decided to part ways, even though he did not want to leave his daughter.

It shows how important it is for a person to know their family history; how much understanding of yourself comes with this and how much peace it brings to put the pieces of it together.

I felt those letters didn’t exactly make sense when directed towards a daughter, though. He was talking to her as if to his best friend, but that’s not the tone a father would use when writing to their child, including some of the events shared in them. I felt he was writing his story to be published or to a brother. There was no connection between Robert Guthrie’s story and his daughter either up to the last letter, whente author explains to the reader why father and daughter don’t know each other.

The writing style was pleasant, but didn’t help me connect with the characters. I only cared about Thomas because he got an illness my mother had when she was a child and about the animals, that I always connect to. Did not feel with the characters as I was detached from beginning to end.

There are certain reflections on life that made me smile, though. It shows how society’s way of thinking and traditions have changed throughout centuries, such as starting to bath in public and the development of swimsuits, how males saw females, the identification and classification of Asperger syndrome and the invention of vaccines. These are so well included into the story that you never feel them forced at all.

Characters were realistic and believable. Even side characters’ personalities were so well portrayed through their actions and feelings that you felt you were reading a non fictional story.

But, hey! I haven’t introduced you to the author.

Where to find him:

https://www.johntaborauthorspage.com/

https://www.facebook.com/John-Tabor-authors-page-108386350692728

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4838181.John_Tabor

I think it’s better if you know history from the USA, or have visited Boghe Banks, so you can imagine the places better and jump into the scenery in your mind.

It’s just 176 pages, so a quick read to connect you to history, family and processing loss (TW).

I’d recommend it, so if you feel curious and want to get it, just click any of these links: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60133769-letters-to-bizzy or Amazon: https://geni.us/letters-to-bizzy Amazon: https://geni.us/letters-to-bizzy

Please, take good care of yourselves. I hope you’re having a great time!

Bear hugs!!

Anne

Surrogate Colony by Boshra Rasti. Blog Tour.

4.5 stars

Hi, there, little bears!

I’m back with another book review today. Hope you enjoy!

First of all, I’d like to thank Travelling Pages Tours and the author for granting me access to an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and a Music Playlist (you can find this one on my Bookstagram account, the.book.dreamers.alley).

After a huge pandemic situation (TW), Arthur Mills, the only surviving polititian, creates a massive community segregated from the rest of the world, in which population now lives, MicroScrep. It is ruled by a computer system that seems impossible to hack and decides the fate of each citizen. Yes, it’s manipulation, but they’re safe thanks to the system. However, not every member of the community is happy with this. Will they be able to escape?

This is a dystopian thriller that made me not want to stop reading at all since I started. It kept me intrigued and actually nervous all the way through and, trust me, this does not happen often.

The writing style made it a quick and easy read, even though there are such heavy topics being approached here, so I flew through the book. I’m not sure I would have been able to wait any longer to know what happened.

Adriana is a particular citizen, having one blue and one brown eye. Nobody knows why, but her mother hides this from the world. Although she was eugenically created -like everyone else-, it is rare that she and several of her close ones, are questioning the system.

I really loved this character something happened and she started making decisions that did not at all fit her personality and thoughts. I’m pretty sure, though, the author meant for you to transfer your love to another character right after, who takes over the story.

This change of perspectives was done so swiftly, that I was not aware of the intention until it actually took place. Really well done here!

There are surprises, twists and turns that make this a gripping page-turner.

I do not want to go into detail as to tell you the types of citizens and how they serve the community or fit in it, but loved how the author merged elements from several famous books to create this. I could see a really strong influence of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley here, the idea of the castrati -originally taken from classical music- and surrogacy, to name a few, in a world in which the population cannot see the truth and, to be honest, most of them just refuse seeing.

A brilliant work! I’ll read more books by the author in the future and I encourage you to pick up this book is you are not triggered by:

TW: the pandemic, rape of a teenager (no details given), being manipulated by the system, hormone manipulation, castration, control.

Let me know if you get to read the book and leave a comment with your thoughts!

Hope you’re having a wonderful month.

Bear hugs!

Anne

Gasoline Dreams by Simon Orpana. A review

*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

2.5 stars.

This is a non fiction graphic novel focused on a necessary purpose creating awareness about the excessive use of petrol based energy that’s destroying our planet at a staggering speed.

I loved the fact that it mentions and goes deep into every aspect of how this usage is a huge problem for every form of life within this planet and the multiverse itself. It also shows there are other options and illustrates his arguments with clear examples of the aspects that are problematic about excess and the use of non-renewable sources of energy.

There are, however several objections I have towards how this graphic novel was done.

The first of these is that I found the density of illustrations and text to be constantly overwhelming. This was probably intentional given the aggressive attitude towards the so-called Petroculture the author shows, but I believe regular readers would not appreciate it as positive, given that it makes the reading experience too heavy. It even gave me anxiety at times.

The writing style gave the impression to be more appropriate for a dense non fiction book, being full of citations of formal texts and investigations at a rate of one or more per page, which also took it further from being a graphic novel.

Regarding certain topics, I have to say that the arguments given at times were not exactly scientific. With this I do not mean to state they are invalid, but that to prove a point it is rather preferable to choose arguments that have scientific validity, which in many occasions they did.

An example of this is the explanation of Sigmund Freud and his definition of Thanatos or death/destruction drive. This is the same evolution theories explain in the mention of humans being a dominant species and this translating into the fact that we tend to our own destruction and that of our environment. Even if Freud talked about this (long after Darwin, by the way), having the support of science would certainly make it stronger.

This ‘undead urge’ Simon takes from psychoanalysis is the excess that is not at all strange, but normal in dominant species, who just believe they can do as they please and dominate their environment without major consequences. Least can an example of this behaviour be given through a psychopath with PTSD. Does he have any idea how a person with PTSD feels? I mean, it is not pleasant or even voluntary and the feelings of a sufferer of this disorder (I am a psychologist) are far from suitable to explain or illustrate the abovementioned behaviour. Even a person with Antisocial Personality Disorder (what he should have mentioned instead of ‘psychopath’) does not feel empathy towards others, but the reason is the structure of the brain in charge of making this happen are not working properly, mainly as a result of neglect, abandonment and/or abuse as a child and/or adolescent -I recommend checking scientific articles and the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders on its fifth version-.

Another issue I had with this work was that, instead of making a certain parallel, he affirms certain films, such as Aliens, Taxi Driver, A Quiet Place and The Shining have direct references to Petroculture when they’re not even obvious. The author assumes that the type of energy used has something to do with Petroculture or the dialogue itself. Well, I consider it closer to the truth to state that he sees or can give examples from and not assure the reader they are references to a topic that is not even mentioned in them.

The typography was too hard to read sometimes -at least for me- and I found it to be quite a Baroque graphic novel in a way, if it makes sense, as it is too overloaded and dense either on images (rare), text or both. Sometimes the language is also too complex.

The topic, don’t get me wrong, is essential to discuss and many people need such a shock to start grasping the very basic ideas of this topic.

Finally, I would love to point out the author’s ideas seem to be congruent on every field and properly portrayed on every aspect of this graphic novel.

You could decide this book is for you and I would actually love to hear different perspectives if you have or are planning to read it.

Please, take good care of yourselves.

Bear hugs!

Anne

Winterset Hollow by Jonathan Edward Durham. Blog tour review

Thank you wo much to The Book Review Crew (now Travelling Pages) and the author for allowing me to have early access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars!

Eamon feels different from everyone and has come a long way to be able to talk to others normally and get close to them, which he mainly does with those who share his passion for a specific book, Winterset Hollow. That’s how he met his best friend, Caroline, and her boyfriend (not really a reader) Mark. One day, the three of them receive a free ticket to go to the very place where their favourite book takes place and there they find there’s not much difference between fiction and reality.

As for many readers, one of my favourite tropes is a book within a book, category that this story fits into. The first time I saw the cover, I thought it would be a horror/mystery/thriller and I was not wrong. Actually, when I chose it, it seemed to be giving me similar vibes to Bunny by Mona Awad, but even darker. I’m so glad I was right!

I found the plot somehow predictable given that many tips are left some time before events take place, but I was not bothered by this in the slightest. Those who have watched my channel (The Book Dreamer’s Alley) will know I’m not plot or character driven, but atmosphere. Well, this book delivered such a dark and attracting atmosphere that it was impossible for me to close it. Whatever I had to do throughout the day, I’d feel the pull of the book calling me. It was really hard to put it down even for a few minutes.

Characters are properly developed, although I’d have loved to have learnt more from Caroline’s and Mark’s backgrounds. The animals (the main characters of Winterset Hollow, the book within the book are such) were incredibly anthropomorphed, their language expressions distinctive from the others’ and their descriptions so vivid, you could see all of them and imagine their behaviour and manners as if you, as the reader, were another spectator of the story. This is to say that the character development was impeccable.

This story is so well done and twisted (meant as a compliment) that I’m not quite sure how to classify it. It’s surely adult, but you could see it as a fantasy with magical realism elements or a magical realism that already includes some fantastic elements, but to me, it’s more of a purely horror story about a book within a book in which the dividing line between reality and fiction blurs to the point of disappearing completely from view.

The writing style is engaging and takes you deeper into the atmosphere. Here’s the author!

Jonathan Edward Durham was born near Philadelphia in one of many satellite rust-belt communities where he read voraciously throughout his youth. After attending William & Mary, where he received a degree in neuroscience, Jonathan waded into the professional world before deciding he was better suited for more artistic pursuits.

He now lives with his partner in California where he writes to bring a unique voice to the space between the timeless wonder of his favorite childhood stories and the pop sensibilities of his adolescent literary indulgences.  His debut novel, Winterset Hollow, an elevated contemporary fantasy with a dark twist, is mined from that same vein and is currently available everywhere.

You can find him at:

https://www.jonathanedwarddurham.com

https://www.facebook.com/jonathanedwarddurham

https://www.instagram.com/thisone0verhere

https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/jonathandurham

https://amazon.com/author/jonathanedwarddurham

What will they discover in the island? What parts of the story may seem too real? What will they be shocked and surprised about?

If you like dark stories and a book within a book, if your atmosphere driven and like surprises and twists, this book is for you.

I really hope you read this and let me know in the comments what you thought of it afterwards. I’d love to have a nice discussion about it!

Hope you’re taking good care of yourselves and that you read this book!

Bear hugs!

Anne

The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night, a review

*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Thank you so much to Net Galley and Stories Untold, the publisher, for granting me access to this book in exchange for an honest review.

I gave this book 3.7 stars.

Ivy Lovely grows up as a maid and is constantly mistreated by her supervisor her whole life. However, at 16, she escapes the castle where she worked and finds out she has magical abilities when she’s given an invitation to enter a famous magical school, where she’s meant to unveil many secrets and mysteries.

I saw this as a late middle grade/early YA fantasy story.

The writing style was appropriate for the target audience and sometimes gravitated towards the lower end. It made this book a quick and easy read without being too simplistic.

The story is full of well-known tropes, such as “the chosen one”, “the evil queen”, “the servant that ends up being the heir”, etc., which makes the plot quite predictable although you never really know what’s going to end up happening until the last chapters. This may be biased given that I was expecting something completely different or the previous information to be misleading.

However, I did enjoy reading this and it took me back to my adolescent years. I would have given the world to have a female chosen one badass heroine’s story for emotional support and validation. Ivy is not perfect; she makes mistakes and is too sassy at times, which gets her into trouble, but she’s real and doesn’t really need a partner’s love to succeed, but friendship.

I feel I still need an explanation to how certain things were too easy they didn’t make sense even in a fantasy story, such as her friendships and her winning over the bully.

The world building was quite well done and I could vividly imagine every character and place described throughout the story, including the colours.

If you want a fast-paced, tropey, and beautiful fantasy story with a happy ending, this book is for you. It warms the heart and puts a smile upon your face.

Let me know in the comments if you’re interested in reading this, what was the last ARC that put a smile upon your face and what you think about books like this one.

Please, take good care of yourselves.

Bear hugs!

Anne

The Mad Trinkets by Cameron Scott Kirk. A review

*I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

4.2 stars.

I have to deeply thank NetGalley and The Mage’s Lantern (the publisher) for granting me early access to this book in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is an adult dark fantasy novel about Tristan de Merlon and a group of his former war comrades, who discovered a cave just before going back home that contained some strange trinkets that would later show strange powers on their bearers.

Even though this book is character driven, I thought the plot was nicely threaded and clearly showed the logic order of events even though we don’t only have current events, but also remembrances from some characters that would allow us to understand certain reasons or the logic for specific behaviours they portrayed. There was an initial confusion every time a memory started, but it was the same feeling as when a dream starts or you’ve just woken up and it takes you a couple of moments to adjust to the new reality and comprehend which one you’re in.

Characters, although some of them were somehow supernatural, were quite relatable. Most of them had their personalities ups and downs, which is generally true for people. We’re full of contradictions, at least in most cases, which makes us human. There’s good and bad, evil and purity in all of us; we decide where to focus each minute of our lives. Just one character stands out for pure goodness, which confirms the rule by showing there’s an exception.

The amount of characters could seem overwhelming, but I never felt lost or needed to go back to clarify some differences. They all expressed themselves in a particular way and you always knew who was talking, also having distinct personalities.

It would seem to much talk about our characters, but trust me, there’s a lot to say.

Some of them made me feel like reading A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, or watching the series. The curious aspect of this is that I was on a live interview with the author right when this book was released (yeap, I read it ages ago and hadn’t written the review because I was not ready yet to publish it on my channel) and he stated he has not even watched an episode of those series or read the books! I couldn’t believe that as I read. The similarities among some of his characters and some of those in GOT are shocking, so who knows where the inspiration came from.

Now, I just had an issue with this book, that I’m not yet sure it be such. The sense of humour was sexist and aggressive. I’m still not sure if this was linked to those who were negatively influenced by the trinkets -these made them turn evil and not care for others whatsoever- or if the author found it funny, which would worry me.

The writing style, in general, made things conversational -so, quick- or allowed the reader to vividly imagine the scenes. I actually had a constant sense of needing the film ASAP.

If you like cinematic dark fantasy that’s character driven but has a solid plot, this book is for you. I highly recommend it!

Please, take good care of yourself.

Bear hugs!

Anne

At the Fields of Fire and Blood. A blog tour spotlight

Hi there!!

Today, I’m coming with another book spotlight for you. I saw this one, read the synopsis and was already intrigued, so I decided to participate on this blog tour. Thank you so much to the author and Erik (Breakeven Books, you should check him out) for allowing me to be part of this.

It is a 500+ pages web novel that I now need to read.

First of all, I’d like you to admire this stunning book cover! Isn’t it interestingly dark? It certainly sparked my curiosity.

Now that you’re (I’m pretty sure) already interested, let me show you the book synopsis!

Humanity set out to achieve Godhood and failed. Their attempt left a ruined world behind, one touched by magic for the first time, but blighted by Heaven and Hell seeping into it. The ones who were left behind hide in great walled cities, caught in the throes of a timeless undeath, and almost completely decimated by the monsters set loose from the deepest abyss of their collective unconscious. The Scions — warrior-mages who ate the fruit of hell and became possessed by fragments of God known as “Archons” — are the only ones who can fight these nightmares and cross the barriers between the worlds. They’re kept locked and isolated in abbeys, reared to protect the cities and their inhabitants. And, one day, to undertake the Pilgrimage,
the mythical heroic journey through Heaven and Hell that will finally open the doors to Eden and grant humanity what it once sought and couldn’t grasp: eternal peace.
But, inside the walls of one of the abbeys, rebellion is brewing. Kayla, Joshua, Sarah, Matthew, Vivien and Darren tire of their captivity and plot to gain back their freedom and find answers to the mysteries of their dying world. Yet it’s not only monsters that stand in their way. Some humans will fight for secrets to remain hidden, while others don’t wish to see the scales of power they’ve so carefully balanced tip. The Scions will have to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps and attain what their predecessors couldn’t to succeed: kill the Godhead and become gods themselves.

But what’s a book without its author? Her profile makes the book even more appealing to me. This is she:

Author Bio:
Crisyah is a Portugese, queer, neurodiverse writer who left traditional publishing behind in order to be able to write about characters like herself with no limitations.
Raised on a steady and varied diet of horror movies and epic fantasy, JRPGs and anime, her first big project was a horror mahou shoujo starring her middle school classmates as the heroines. It’s no wonder her current series, At the End of the World, is a gothic fantasy Soulsborne and Madoka Magica mash-up. You can find her on Twitter @crisyahwrites, yelling about videogames, BTS and her giant, fluffy cats.

Please, let me know if you get to read this because I cannot wait to read and discuss the book with other readers. You tell me gothic and I’m instantly interested! Are you too?

You can also support the book here:

Support on Indiegogo:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/at-the-fields-of-fire-and-blood–2/
coming_soon/x/27793666

Please take good care of yourselves.

Bear hugs!

Anne

The Apology Box by Naomi Ulsted. Blog Tour Review

4.5 stars

Thanks to The Book Review Crew and Naomi Ulsted for granting me early access to this wonderful book.

This is a contemporary drama for YA readers that wouldn’t do any harm to adults. Here’s the summary:

First of all, I’d love to say that I’m not generally that fond of contemporary because it tends to be focused on romance and this one has some because it’s part of life, but this aspect is never our main focus. When the romance appeared, I swore everything would take a turn and it would be a case of saved princess by blue prince. I was wrong.

Tessa is 17 and finding it incredibly hard to forgive herself and, after years of a loss that shook her whole family, she has not been able to forgive her mother either, which is just adding to everybody’s pain and making it impossible for her to deal with the hardships coming her way, even though there are beautiful people around her who are trying really hard to be there and give her their hand.

I found the book to be character driven, especially focused on their emotions and how these lead to behaviours that would affect themselves even for life and their future relationships with life, others and nature itself.

It shows how, when you don’t love yourself enough or cannot forgive yourself, anything and everything you do is directed towards pushing away those things and feelings from others you believe you’re not worthy of. Mental health should not be ignored or thought of as lees important. We have to stop thinking going to psychotherapy is for those who are crazy. We are all crazy in that sense. Nobody’s head is perfect because the system is too complex not to have problems. We all need help and, as we go to the doctor when we have a physical symptom, we should go to the psychologist when there’s something that’s not ok in our head. Let’s normalise psychotherapy!

Now, on this regard, the book could be misleading. Depression is not the main cause for suicide or self-harm. Borderline Personality Disorder is. If you need more information on this or want me to make a post on the topic, please let me know in the comments, but be clear on this issue, because this disorder is the most misdiagnosed one.

Characters are incredibly well portrayed. They’re likeable or hateable, real with all their flaws and mistakes, relatable. I felt so close to Tessa because the feelings she has are much closer to BPD than those of depression or anxiety. These two appear to be features of the disorder in this case. This made me cry and laugh with her throughout the story, even though I’m 39 and she’s 17. I loved her relationship with Effby, my favourite character in this book by far.

TW: anxiety, depression, loss, self-harm, BPD, death of a child.

There’s just one thing I found not believable in the romance, that she makes comments that are too much for the first time you meet a person. He’s working on her car, which is why they meet, and after a very brief encounter in the car shop, she seems to be deeply in love and not be able to live without him. And again, this would be normal in a person suffering from BPD.

The writing style was perfect for me. The author has a great sense of humour, the style made it a quick and easy read without making it simplistic and helped the reader get closer to the characters’ emotions.

I’d highly recommend this book if the trigger warnings are not an issue for you. It’s totally worth it and helped me think of ways to forgive myself.

Let’s also raise awareness on mental health, suicide and BPD!!

Bear hugs!

Anne

Your Career, Your Business by Gina Cajucom. Blog Tour. Book Spotlight

Hi everyone!

Today, I’m coming with a spotlight of a book I was not likely to have accepted to read, but I had the hunch that I’d love this one and I was right.

First, I’d like to thank the author and Erik McManus from Breakeven Books for allowing me to become part of this blog tour.

I have it 4 stars and it’s my first 4-star rating for a self-help book! I was pleasantly surprised by the content and organisation of this book. It was really useful for me at this precise moment of my life and it reminded me that you should do anything and everything you can to reach your goals and achieve your dreams.

Here is the summary, for a sneak peek:

“This self-help book is about managing careers and managing self through self-coaching. It is NOT a book about job search strategies or techniques. It is not about doing a job interview or presenting yourself well. It is not about what you’re doing wrong and what you can do about it. Instead, the book is a reflective companion about you and your work life. It is about finding the power within you and using it to coach yourself to success.
It is a self-coaching book that goes through the journey of reflections that clarifies what’s essential in the hope of helping you to manage your career better. Managing a career is much like growing a business. The entrepreneurship aspect is not apparent until you get self-employed and need to create your opportunities, which is quite comparable to a job search. If you’re reading this book, you might be seeking fulfillment, or satisfaction at work or recognition of one’s talent being unused or potential still to develop. On the other hand, you might be ambitious and strategic and would like to position yourself for bigger things.
Whether you’re stuck and looking to jump-start your career or doing well but want to fast-track it or feeling unfulfilled and looking for clarity in your work life, you can coach yourself to success. The book presents self-coaching opportunities to enable forward movement, especially when there’s a sense of being stuck in career development.

  1. It’s a primer that engages the reader to act and do something. It’s a call to action.
  2. It’s a self-coaching book that uses reflective questions or inquiries. It invites you to reflect upon, dig deep, and increase self-awareness and self-empowerment.
  3. The language is short and straightforward but still refers to sources when necessary and available.
  4. This primer hopes to speak from the voice of a friend and a perspective of a coach.
    Your Career Your Business is a self-help handbook that you can read over time, hoping that you will take the time to stop and reflect upon the inquiries at specific points. You will see the rationale for the book and who might benefit from reading it, and how in the Introduction. Hopefully, you can identify yourself as the book’s subject and set aside time for reflection using the questions in every chapter.
    The first chapter illustrates how thinking over your career can be solution-focused instead of problem-centric. Taking the former perspective opens up possibilities, while the latter can be self-defeating. The second chapter introduces the idea that you can coach yourself to success by focusing on your best hope, amplifying what is important, looking back at past achievements proving your strengths and moving forward with small doable steps.
    A paradigm shift presented in Chapter Three needs to happen to reclaim your ability to take charge and control your future. Chapter Four will show how taking charge of your career is necessary for responding to environmental shifts and the changing workplace. Then, as presented in Chapter Five, these developments call for an ability to reinvent yourself and your career when necessary. Finally, it speaks of how changes in the past point to the possible significant shifts in the future.
    The book emphasizes that your career is your business, so nobody will if you don’t take charge of it. Through time, career management and development have shifted from the employer to the employee. So how should you manage your career? Chapter Six presents the parallel process of managing a business and managing a career, while Chapter Seven explains how strategies can be intentional or emergent in some cases. Like a business, careers can develop with the goal of continuous growth. Chapter Eight presents how careers can grow very similar to how a business can grow and thrive over time.
    Chapters Nine and Ten ask the reader to look inwardly to reflect on how their purpose and mission play a role in making career decisions and how the search for a resonant career can veer one toward one direction instead of another. The search for authenticity, meaning, and passion could influence career choices. These are some of the best predictors of fulfillment.
    Chapter Eleven is a call to action reiterating how managing oneself and personal leadership can engender commitment to career success by listening to your own voice. The inquiries serve that purpose. If you reflect upon the questions and listens to your authentic inner voice, it could open up some possibilities that you don’t see being drowned out by the day-to-day busyness of life.”

Now, it is structured in a way that allows you to reflect on the important aspects of every step to take and thought to modify in order to get exactly where you want to.

I’d also like to update you on the author, who made me feel close to her by giving me a situation I think all of us have lived, choosing a job that’s not making us happy over love and family, not even stopping to think about the importance of enjoying what you do and creating balance in your life.

Gina Cajucom, author of Your Career, Your Business

“Gina Cajucom is an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) who promotes better conversations in the workplace using ©Authentic Workplace Engagement (AWE).
These are future-focused, progress-oriented, and co-constructive dialogues that need to happen in the workplace to break the selfdefeating cycle of attributing cause or casting blame. AWE emphasizes strengths and small steps toward progress using essential dialogues and touchpoint conversations.
Gina’s extensive experience working with upstarts, small businesses, and large
corporations across industries, gives her the unique ability to see organizations in
their duality. Top executives, owners, and major stakeholders are focused on the
bottom line—productivity and profitability. People at the grassroots level, who
grapple with work-life balance and career development, are either partly engaged
or completely disengaged. Gina’s strength and commitment is to work-life
integration while contributing to bottom-line business results through leadership
coaching.
With over fifteen years of experience in human resources management (H.R.)
and organizational development (O.D.), her stints in coaching emerging leaders
and executives across industries awakened her passion for leadership development
and work-life integration. This unique experience inspired her to help young
leaders and professionals with their career management challenges within or
without their organizations through Career Coefficient http://www.careercoefficient.ca.
A Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) in Canada, Gina completed
two years of graduate study in MS Human Resource Management at the
University of Santo Tomas in Manila and has completed a Master’s Certificate
in Organizational Development (MCOD) from the Schulich School of Business
Your Career, Your Business
at York University in Toronto. Her extensive training in co-active coaching
techniques with the Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and Solution-Focused
Brief Coaching with the University of Toronto, complements her undergraduate
degree in B.S. Psychology. She currently contributes to the development of
Brief Coaching in the Philippines in partnership with the Canadian Centre
for Brief Coaching http://www.briefcoaching.ca. She also volunteers her time with
The Coaching Fellowship http://www.tcfs.org, helping young international women
leaders of impact accelerate their leadership potential.”

I do not read self-help books because after doing so with a few, I was fed up. However, this book has been an eye-opener and I’m already planning to read it again and take notes on my answer to the questions made in it, so I can make plans for my future ASAP.

Before leaving you, I’d love to allow you to read the excerpt and the link to the promotional video I added to this post, so you feel that urge to get to this great book. Also, it’s a short one that gives you so much in so little!

Without further ado, let’s just read it, shall we?

Hope you enjoy if you decide to get to it.

Cannot wait to hear your thoughts!

Bear hugs!

Anne

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