Review: The Art of Being by Danielle Allen

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The Art of Being is a collection of inspirational words and motivational messages designed to empower, inspire, and encourage. Whether you’re looking for a pick-me-up, a life coach, or a personal cheerleader, this nonfiction journey of life lessons, quotable messages, and poetry will hit the spot. While the premise is centered on the idea of being your best self in order to live your best life, the real power comes from what each point encourages you to reflect on in your life. Inspirational, motivational, and spiritual, The Art of Being is the perfect gift to yourself.

Fall in love with The Art of Being by falling in love with the art of being YOU.

 

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“I am a work in progress, but please believe the hype.”

The Art of Being is part self-help, part inspirational, and part devotional. If you add all of the parts of the book together then you realize that it has taken you on a journey to find your true and authentic self. The Art of Being isn’t your typical over the top self-help from a guru that makes you feel as if you’re being preached to and/or made to believe that everything will turn around as soon as you finish the book.

“There’s freedom in realizing that you don’t have to experience life the way you’ve been told to experience it. My journey is mine. Your journey is yours.”

This is the true beauty of The Art of Being. It is all about self; Self-discovery, self-acceptance, and most of all, self-love. It forces you to look deep in the mirror and analyze who you are, what you think about you, and then what you allow.

Some books come along right when you need them the most and The Art of Being is one of them. It is one that can be visited many times on your journey of becoming the you that you want to be. Your answers to some of the questions posed will change over time and this will document your growth. Danielle Allen is a prolific fiction writer so this was a risk. One can easily tell that she put her heart and soul into it and as a result she has produced a book that I truly believe every woman should read.

 

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Buy The Art of Being Here!

 

Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life. 

Wow, what a timely read!!! At this moment I can’t even adequately put into words how I feel about this book. I experienced anger, sadness, understanding, empathy, and so many other things. There’s no way it should have taken me a week to finish this book, but sometimes life gets in the way. 

In the spirit of Stand Your Ground by Victoria Christopher Murray and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, The Hate U Give gives us a perspective into racism from a point of view we rarely see in the news. This time we hear from the eyewitness of a police shooting. The short premise is that Starr saw one of her childhood friends get murdered by a police officer and we see the media attempt to dehumanize/criminalize the friend so Starr wrestles with the decision of testifying and having her memories of the night turned around. My heart truly went out to her and I can totally see why this book is already being turned into a major motion picture. It is THAT good and it is a story worth telling. 

I could say so much more about this book, but I’ll simply end this with a passage:

“It’s about Oscar. 

Aiyana. 

Trayvon. 

Rekia. 

Michael. 

Eric. 

Tamir. 

John. 

Ezell. 

Sandra. 

Freddie. 

Alton. 

Philando. 

It’s even about that little boy in 1955 who nobody recognized at first – Emmett. 

The messed up part? There are so many more.”


Review: Back to December by Danielle Allen

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Life made me resilient.
Love made me vulnerable.
Marriage made me… Emily Diaz.

When I married the man of my dreams, I assumed it was forever.

So when circumstances called for me to leave the man I loved, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life.

But betrayal changes everything.
And everything happens for a reason.

Being in love with myself enough to walk away brought me back to life.
Being in love with my life again brought me back to reality.
Being in love with someone else, well, that brought me back to December.

 

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Emily…Em…Auntie Em…Whatever name she is going by, the main character in Back to December is a woman that we currently are, we once were, or she reflects one of our girlfriends. I honestly have never felt this personally connected to a character since Ben from Arsen which I read back in 2014. Emily is a broken woman due to an unfortunate string of events but the main reason is being betrayed by her husband.

Emily starts on a journey to see who she really is as a woman without a husband. The agony, pain, and the feeling of being defeated is beautifully and perfectly written by Allen. And, to be completely transparent, I make that statement because I could have easily switched out a few of the details as far as the husband’s profession and his choice of words and Back to December could be a part of my life story. There is something exceptionally special about a book that truly touches your spirit and this book does just that.

“You said you don’t know about marriage, but do you have it in you to love again?”

Emily meets a colorful cast of characters during her journey of finding self. And, the question posed above is one that made me sit and reflect on how I would even answer that. Love in itself is hard, but love after divorce is even harder. We get a row seat into how Emily navigates life as she goes through a divorce and shortly thereafter. Ms. Allen has a tremendous gift in being able to perfectly illustrate with words what it means to allow yourself time to hurt/mourn, bounce back, to allow others in again, and most importantly, how to fall completely in love with yourself after someone tried their best to break you!!!

I don’t do this often, but I highly recommend Back to December. This could totally be because of selfish reasons because I am pretty sure that I am not the only woman in the world that has been through and/or will share an experience similar to Emily’s. This was my first time reading a book by Danielle Allen, but it definitely won’t be my last!

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Buy Back to December here!