Fiction Friday: Book Review- He’s Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt

He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys

He’s Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


“He’s Just Not That Into You” should be required reading for every female.
We all grow up having friends and family assuring us that we are amazing and of course that guy likes us. He just doesn’t know how to show it/just got out of a relationship/is intimidated by you.
Female society is conditioned by these excuses.
This book helps to break that cycle.
I read it once at seventeen (wish it was sooner coz I NEEDED it a year before that) and every so often I like to revisit it.
“He’s Just Not That Into You” paints the revolutionary idea that maybe he isn’t that into you. Maybe he just isn’t the one. A shocking idea at first but once you get used to it, it’s pretty liberating.
No more wasting time and effort on the wrong guy. No more hanging around and waiting for him to call.
If he is into you, he will show you. You will have no doubts. Period.
If you haven’t already read this book and you’re a female. Do it. NOW!




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7 Life Lessons I Learnt from “The Bold Type”

I discovered “The Bold Type” during a tough time in my life. I had just screwed up an interview for a job that I knew would have been perfect for me and I was in desperate need of a pity party. Now, a year and three seasons later, “The Bold Type” is still a source of constant comfort for me. Whether it is personal or professional, there are tons of great life lessons I picked up from the show.

The Bold Type
  1. Stand up for what you believe in– Kat is one of the most outspoken females I have ever seen and does not shy away from confrontation. She is always comfortable expressing herself and her beliefs no matter what.

2. Failure is a thing. It happens. Move on– As a perfectionist, this really hit home. In life, people fail. It is just a part of life. Onwards and upwards. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you can’t try again or there’s something else out there for you.

3. Find Yourself a Mentor– Watching the amazing Jacqueline Carlyle motivate and support the girls of “The Bold Type” has really made me appreciate the great female leaders in my life. I specify “great” and “female” because I have only just realized both how rare and amazing they are. Find yourself a kickass mentor who will help you to be your best self.

4. The Importance of a Support Group– Kat, Sutton and Jane support each other through everything (the girls even accompany Jane to a mammogram which is both over the top and against the rules). Get yourself friends that are there for you no matter what. Everything is a million times better with a great support group. Take it from me. 2019 would have been hell if it wasn’t for my girls.

5. Do it if it scares you– My former manager is always saying that “nothing grows in comfort zones” and this is something I believe in 110%. If something scares you, you should seize the opportunity and do it. There is so much that you could learn and so much growth that you can experience.

6. It’s Okay to Be Undecided About Your Career– Over the course of 4 seasons, Sutton has gone from personal assistant to fashion assistant to aspiring designer to stylist. She admits that she is undecided but is also willing to try out new opportunities to see what suits her. As the girl who decided on her career path at 12 years old, I love this!

7. You have to start at the bottom– From season 1, I loved that the girls knew where they wanted to be and they were on the way there. However the flashback episode in season 3 showed us that Jane started as an intern, Sutton was a temp and Kat worked for someone who had no clue how to make hits on social media. I loved taking this look back and seeing where the girls started. This was a great reminder that everyone- even in glamorous TV shows- starts at the bottom.

Do you watch “The Bold Type?” What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt? Let me know below.

5 Reasons to Try Audiobooks

Audiobooks are rising in popularity. If you haven’t already jumped on the bandwagon, here are a few reasons why you should give them a go.

audiobook with earphones
  1. You can read on the go– My favorite time to listen to audiobooks is on the commute to work but several people prefer to listen in the middle of tasks such as housework or cooking. Audiobooks let you listen to a book in situations when reading would be difficult or impossible.
  2. Less eye strain– If you have trouble with your eyesight or small print, this is a lifesaver. Listening means you can read with your eyes closed. However there is also a higher risk of falling asleep.
  3. Audiobooks bring the characters to life– Hearing a character speak in your head and hearing a character through a narrator are two very different experiences and I strongly recommend the latter. It’s highly entertaining.
  4. You can choose how fast or how slow you want your narration– Ever have that moment where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get into your book? You read the same page over and over again but it just doesn’t make sense? With audiobooks you can choose how fast or how slow you want the book to go so there’s no issue with your brain letting you and refusing to make sense of the words.
  5. You don’t have to physically carry a book with you– With digital media on the rise, this is my favorite both for audiobooks and ebooks. You can have your entire library on your cellphone without having a paperback getting dog-eared in your backpack.

Interested in Trying an Audiobook Service? Here are some of my picks:

  1. Scribd– I posted an article a while back about how Scribd helped me with my insane book buying habit so this is my favorite audiobook subscription site. It is also one of the cheapest I know. For $8.99 a month (about R135) you can access unlimited ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. It’s like the Netflix of books. When signing up, you get a month free so you can choose if it’s working for you or not. With the referral link I’ve included above, this gives you TWO months free. Give it a go. I promise you won’t regret it.
  2. Audible– Audible is one of the more popular audiobook sites. For $14.95 (about R225) a month, you can access one audiobook and two Audible originals. Audible is more pricey than Scribd but they also have several new releases and lots of great sales. You also get to keep the audiobooks even once your subscription is over.
  3. Audiobooks.com– Audiobooks.com lets you download one regular audiobook and two picks from their VIP selection a month for $14.95 (about R225). Like Audible, they also have lots of great sales on their audiobooks.

Have you tried listening to a book instead of reading? What are your favorite audiobooks? Let me know below.

Welcome to the Real World 2: The Weakest Link

In December 2016, I found a job teaching English online to Chinese students. I applied and waited impatiently for a response. I was convinced that this was it for me. The perfect job. I had the degree. I was a writer. There was no better job.

I made it through two series of interviews without any problem. The interviewer was impressed at my background with Media and writing as well as the fact that I had driven to the office the day before to ensure I didn’t have any issues finding the place.

Unfortunately when it came time for training, the interviewer (aka the manager of the teaching center) was NOT who I needed to impress.

The day after my interview was over, I received an email with a list of items I needed to purchase because the business had a dress code. So I headed to the nearest mall and purchased formal-wear in blue, black and white (colours that the business required).

Excited about my new job, I chatted to the sales lady who seemed to share my enthusiasm especially about the fact that this was not a call center job. I confided in her that I had been so worried that I would end up in a call center because it was so tough to find jobs.

Now remember, at this stage I had only been out of college for one month but sure, I was young and naive. I didn’t know much.

I turned up to training, uncomfortable in my formal clothing and slightly nauseous. I hadn’t slept the night before and was exhausted.

And that was when I met her. The head trainer was a no-nonsense (and possibly no patience) woman. She was tough and demanding and assured us that not all of us would make it through training let alone the second day.

I was scared but I still felt pretty confident. Hello, girl with years of writing experience? English was practically the only talent I had.

But as they laid down rules after rules, I started to have doubts. I was about an hour into training when I phoned my mother in tears. I wasn’t sure I could handle the pressure.

Let me go over some of the rules for you: 1) You must use make-up (understandable as you’re on camera), 2) you have to use the colours required by the business, 3) you absolutely cannot take toilet breaks until it’s your designated time and 4) you cannot tell the students “no” or that they’re incorrect.

This last thing drove me crazy. When we practiced our lessons, I was marked down for things I did wrong but never given any guidance on what I could have done right. It was just “don’t do this, don’t do that”.

Looking back it was clear from the get-go that the trainers didn’t like me. It sounds petty but I remember the trainer asking me what did it mean if a girl had her a good head on her shoulders and then shouting the question back at me when I was unable to articulate my answer properly to her.

At the end of the day, they called me into the office and told me that they didn’t think the job was for me. I was too quiet, too much of an introvert. They told me to go try something else and I could come back when I had more work experience.

I was emotional. I teared up. I asked them if they needed me to complete the rest of the training (there was an hour left) or if I should leave immediately.

They assured me I could leave immediately. I thanked them for their time, said goodbye to the other trainees (who didn’t believe that I was leaving and thought I was joking), cried a bit in my car and drove myself home.

I was sad that I didn’t fit in but I knew if I had, it would have been a disaster. From what little I did see from the work environment, it looked awful.

Fiction Friday: Book Review- Blood Truth by J.R Ward

Blood Truth (Black Dagger Brotherhood)

Blood Truth by J.R. Ward

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
After the death of his (awful) father, Boone is assigned to investigate a series of murders with Butch, a former homicide cop. Their investigation leads them to Helaine, the female who called in the latest murder and who has lost her sister to the vicious killer.
Helaine is determined to catch her sister’s murderer however there are no leads.
It isn’t long before Helaine and Boone start a relationship amidst their shared grief over their lost family members.
This was the first time I could remember being more excited about a mystery than the romance in the book.
From the very first page, the murder mystery drew me in and I almost didn’t care about Helaine and Boone (luckily their relationship was cute so I was eventually invested in it).
This was a great read that I did not enjoy as much as I could have because about 100 pages in, I was exhausted (it was 11PM), I had work the next day and so decided to skip to the end. That spoiled the experience for me.
HUGE MISTAKE! DO NOT DO THIS!
But do read this book.



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Angry God - BT banner

“Once again, L.J. Shen has blown me away with a hauntingly beautiful, angst-driven, emotionally charged romance that will stay with me long after the last page. A must read for 2020.”

 —Siobhan Davis, USA Today bestselling author

Angry God, an all-new beautiful and dark new adult romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is available now!

Angry God eBook Cover

Vaughn Spencer. 

They call him an angry god. 

To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince. 

His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street. 

All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me. 

Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me. 

I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school. 

But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London. 

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius. 

They say this place is haunted, and it is. 

Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets. 

Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Angry God is a stand-alone, DARK High School Romance. It deals with sensitive subjects some may find triggering.

AVAIL NOW BANNER

Download your copy today or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/38BelLA

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/AGLJShen

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/38HbfWt

Amazon Audible: https://amzn.to/37x5edq

Add ANGRY GOD to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/35oUOMC

Excerpt

“How good are you at keeping secrets, Lenora Astalis?” His voice wrapped around my neck like a noose. 

I wanted to cough. I needed to cough. He terrified me. I hated him with the heat and passion of a thousand blazing suns. He made me feel like a scaredy cat and a snitch. 

“Oh, yes. If you’re coward enough to pretend you’re asleep, you’re good enough to keep a secret. That’s the thing about you, Astalis. I can smash you into dust and watch your grains dance at my feet. My little circus monkey.” 

I might’ve hated Vaughn, but I hated myself more for not standing up to him. For not opening my eyes and spitting in his face. Clawing his unnaturally blue eyes out. Taunting him back for all the times he’d taunted all of us at Carlisle Prep.

“By the way, your eyelids are moving,” he said drily, chuckling. 

He straightened up, his finger making a brief stop at the base of my spine. He snapped his fingers, making a breaking sound, and I nearly jumped out of my skin, letting out a gasp. I squeezed my eyes tighter, still pretending to sleep.

He laughed. 

The bastard laughed. 

Was he sparing me for the time being? Was he going to check in on me from now on? Retaliate if I opened my mouth? He was so unpredictable. I wasn’t sure what my life would look like in the morning.

LJ Shen prof picAbout LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries. 

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1

Twitter: http://bit.ly/36ELHZc

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2oMbFsu

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2AIOiTo

Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

http://bit.ly/36MnmAQ

Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

Fiction Friday: Squad Goals by M.F Lorson and Jessica Butcher

Squad Goals: The Complete Series

Squad Goals: The Complete Series by M.F. Lorson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I received an ebook copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
“Squad Goals” follows three best friends, Addy, Lucy and Nora as they tackle what they have deemed ‘squad goals'(basically goals that they complete as a group of friends) during their final year of high school.
Each girl gets a season and they determine a goal. Addy has always met her goals. Lucy sometimes meets her goals and Nora never does. All three girls are determined to finish their goals in time for graduation.

1) Hot by Halloween: Addy’s goal is to get hotter and make her scum bag ex-boyfriend jealous. To do this, she joins the school swim team. Addy is a horrible swimmer but she teams up with the hot new guy at school to practice and it isn’t long before sparks start flying between the two of them. This was my favorite story and I couldn’t read it fast enough.

2) Nerdy by New Year: Popular girl, Lucy decides that she wants to reinvent her image. Instead of being just a pretty face, she is going to show everyone that she is a nice person. Part of her goal is to apologize everyone she has hurt. Like her childhood best friend, Simon. Simon and Lucy were close until she embarrassed him in front of the entire school. To try and win him back, Lucy joins his club and the two of them start volunteering together. Lucy and Simon were an adorable couple from the get-go and I couldn’t stop rooting for them.

3) Promised by Prom: Oddball Nora has no plans after high school. But with her two best friends leaving to go to college, Nora is desperate to find someone to be with. So she makes the goal to find a serious boyfriend by Prom. Her friends assure her that it’s possible as long as she keeps her weirdness hidden at the beginning of her boyfriend hunt but Addy’s brother, Max disagrees. He thinks Nora should find someone who likes her for her. Someone like him.
Nora would never risk her friendship with Addy for Max no matter how well they get along. As the only two single people in the group, they are almost always paired off together and it sometimes seems like they’re dating but they are just good friends. Or are they?
This was my least favourite story possibly because Nora reminded me so much of myself. However I loved the chemistry between the two of them.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was great seeing the amazing friendship these girls had as well as the squad goals which were all so relatable. I kinda wanted the ending to be a big cliche “and they all lived happily ever after” which I don’t feel like I got. Nonetheless, definitely read this if you are looking for a fun and light romance.



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Fiction Friday: My (Secret) Youtube Life by Charlotte Seager

My [Secret] YouTube Life

My [Secret] YouTube Life by Charlotte Seager

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


YouTube beauty vlogger, Lily has the most perfect life. Perfect home, perfect boyfriend, countless sponsorships and a book deal.
Atleast that is the way it looks on the outside. Lily is constantly under pressure to look perfect and is stressed and anxious all the time. Her perfect home doesn’t belong to her and her boyfriend might be cheating on her.
Sixteen-year-old lifestyle blogger, Melissa is Lily’s biggest fan and has a less perfect life. No perfect London apartment, no perfect boyfriend and just one best friend. Melissa would do anything to have a life just like Lily’s and when that proves to be tough, she decides to just make things up on her blog. It isn’t long before Melissa has a life that looks to be as good as Lily’s.
But on a trip to see Lily at an event, Melissa stumbles across the truth about her perfect life. It isn’t long until both girls learn that being internet famous isn’t everything it is cracked up to be.
I started reading this book as soon as I bought it and I did not regret it one bit. “My Secret Youtube Life” was an entertaining read that I could not put down.



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Cover Reveal: Angry God by L.J Shen

“A top 2020 read hands down.”

–Helena Hunting, New York Times bestselling author

Angry God, an all-new angst-filled new adult standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author L.J. Shen, is coming February 18th and we have the smoking hot cover!

AngryGodBookCover6x9_MEDIUM

Vaughn Spencer.

They call him an angry god.

To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.

His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.

All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.

Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.

I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.

But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.

They say this place is haunted, and it is.

Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.

Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

Add ANGRY GOD to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/35oUOMC

Be notified first when Angry God is live: http://bit.ly/36MnmAQ

Cover designed by: Letitia Hasser, RBA Designs

Model: Emilio Flores

LJShen

About LJ Shen

L.J. Shen is a USA Today, Washington Post and Amazon #1 best-selling author of contemporary, New Adult and YA romance. Her books have been sold to nineteen different countries.

She lives in California with her husband, son, cat and eccentric fashion choices, and enjoys good wine, bad reality TV shows and catching sun rays with her lazy cat.

Connect with L.J. Shen

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2OhSvp1

Twitter: http://bit.ly/36ELHZc

Pinterest: http://bit.ly/2oMbFsu

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2AIOiTo

Stay up to date with L.J. Shen by signing up for her mailing list:

http://bit.ly/36MnmAQ

Website: http://www.authorljshen.com/

5 Hacks Every Blogger Needs to Know

I miss the days when blogging was just a hobby I had on the side and I could choose how much (or usually, how little) effort I wanted to put in depending on my current workload at uni.

Now that I’ve been blogging for a while and Playground of Randomness seems to be a permanent part of my life, I’ve made it a priority to take it seriously. In doing so, there are lots of little tricks I use to blog more efficiently. Here are 5 hacks that every blogger should know:

1) Batch your work– Whether it’s generating ideas or creating graphics, make sure to batch your work so that you’re doing it all at once. I used to think of an idea, create the graphic and then write the blog post. Let me tell you- that got old FAST. It is far more efficient (not to mention easy) if you do similar tasks together.

2) Set up a system to respond to emails– I usually only reply to emails between 8AM and 5PM because those are my working hours. I also only ever reply to emails from work and usually from my cellphone (I am really lazy when it comes to switching the laptop on for anything that isn’t writing-related). If you are not swamped with too many emails, load your blog email on your phone or tablet so that you can reply to mails while you are on the go.

3) DO spend time on social media– A large portion of blogging is about writing but an even larger portion is about promotion. Put in the time and effort to promote your blog on social media. It will help you find new readers for your blog.

4) Have a content notebook– Have a notebook or an app where you can list content ideas. This helps if you ever get stuck with thinking about what to blog. This also helps you with deciding what content to publish when.

5) Use Google Analytics– I only learnt about Google Analytics when I signed up for a Digital Marketing course a year back. But from my very first second, I was glued. It was like magic. Google Analytics shows you what your readers are interested in so you can create the content that they want to read.

What other blogging hacks do you use? I’d love to know below.

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