Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

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ashley | I went form having read very little about cults to reading two books within a few weeks with similar details. Though Emma Cline’s The Girls focuses much more on the lure and charisma of a cult, based loosely on the Manson family. I’ve been weirdly drawn to the Manson family, as I’m sure many were, so this book was really interesting for me.

Cline writes with a very descriptive manner, there’s a lot of flowery descriptions about almost everything, which can sometimes be too much to read but it made the book seem kind of dream-like, a level past reality, which I tend to believe is the same feeling the whole Manson appeal made all these young naive girls feel at the time.

I enjoyed how things didn’t just jump right in. We meet Evie before she meets the cult, while she’s still a little naive and starry eyed. She idolizes Suzanne right from the very beginning. And we witness her being lured into the group, being pushed away from her family and ending up there.

I really enjoyed things for the first half of the book, but eventually it started to feel too drawn out. Towards the end I was anxious for the climax to come already. We all knew what was coming, just get there.

I did like how it was told between present and past, but the plot taking place in the present helped make things seem so drawn out, nothing really happened and it just seemed like it was dragging.

Overall I thought it was a decent read. I did feel very smitten for most of it, I think somewhere that allure just died off, much like the allure of the Ranch did for Evie. Suzanne was certainly a draw, she was probably the most interesting person in the whole book, even more so than the Manson-character Russell. I think she was what kept me hanging on through the whole story, Cline did a great job of making her evil but somehow still someone you wanted to be around.

3CityGirlScapesRating

more information
amazongoodreads website

published
june 14, 2016

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Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

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ashley | I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for The Cuckoos Callingby Robert Galbraith, but the plot sounded  interesting enough to me that I figured I’d take a shot. It wasn’t until after starting that  I discovered it was actually written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym, and that makes me wonder whether a lot of people had different expectations for this post-Harry Potter book and even if they didn’t intend to, set this book up to fail before it ever took off. Somehow I was able to keep this separate from all of this noise and ultimately I quite enjoyed this little detective book.

I’m usually pretty good at piecing together mystery novels, I’ve read a ton of them, but this kept me on my toes for a good portion of things and kept me interested for just as long. I liked the characters, I liked the detective Strike and how more of his life comes into play than just what happens in his detective office. I thought the addition of his temp Robin was a great start to developing a kind of Batman and Robin dynamic. I liked how all the pieces fell together, even though at times it seemed like there was a lot happening to intentionally throw us off.

There’s been a few comments about the writing and how Rowling should have stuck with fantasy, but I wasn’t bothered by her writing style here. I wasn’t blown away, there wasn’t anything fascinating about the way this book was written, it was kind of your general run of the mill detective mystery, but like I said, it kept me on my toes and that’s really all I can hope for from a book like this.

Granted, the ending wasn’t that uncommon and likely a lot of people probably saw it coming a mile away. It’s basically your typical old motive and not all that surprising, perhaps a bit underwhelming. But I really didn’t mind the journey to get there and I liked the investigative plot points and the array of colourful characters who all helped tie it all together.

4CityGirlScapesRating

more information
amazongoodreads website

published
april 30, 2013

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Book Review: Your First Moment Earns You More Moments by Alli Mang

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ashley | On Tuesday, we posted an interview with author Alli Mang, who spoke to us about her new book Your First Moment Earns You More Moments: Stand Out in Today’s Job Market. Today, we review her book.

It shouldn’t come as news that the job market today is oversaturrated and downright hard to break into, let alone stand out among the many people vying for the same job. This book  does just that; guides you to create your own personal brand that will set you apart from everyone else out there. Mang has had many years in the entertainment industry and knows the brutal ins and outs of auditions and interviews. Here, she lays out important tips and unique insights into a variety of different job situations and lays out the importance of knowing your own brand and how to sell it, and ultimately, yourself.

This is a short and sweet self-help book, but it isn’t written as a bland how-to guide. When you pick up a book like this, you almost expect it to be stiffly written by someone who has had years of experience working, trying to preach their wisdom to those who wish to follow in their footsteps. But while Mang has years of experience and wisdom, she writes with a younger and more vibrant tone that is very in the moment. There are a number of current pop culture references (Star Wars!!), a chapter on Social Media and it’s written in a way that anyone, no matter their positioning or experience, can relate to. But what I think is special is that it’s very relateable to a younger audience, those who may not have a lot of experience with the job market. I think that’s difficult to do; write about a serious topic in a stimulating and interesting way that can resonate and likely stick with a younger audience and Mang does this very well.

Like most books like this, there are a few exercises for the reader to do to help sort out their goals and vision. But there are also inspirational stories about other people – just like us – who had big dreams, lots of ambition and worked hard at selling their brand to the point that it paid off. I found these stories to be a nice change from the how-to, they were a great example of why approaching your career as a brand is a smart tactic.

While there are a lot of overview points that can be applied to many different fields and situations and the writing is really relateable to pretty much any reader, I found that this book is very entertainment based. A lot of personal anecdotes, stories and inspirations come from entertainers or Mang’s background in the entertainment business and while it’s interesting to read and speaks very strongly to me personally, even though it can all be adapted to various situations, if you aren’t looking for work in the entertainment business, you might not take away the same lessons from this book. It might not speak to you in the same way and frankly, some of these suggestions may not even be the best plan of attack for you and your job field.

That said, there is still enough substantial information for any reader, no matter what situation they are seeking, but for someone who is looking to break into entertainment or broadcast/radio or even marketing/advertising, as opposed to someone who may be looking at more corporate or technical industries, this will be substantially more interesting.

I was quite surprised with how easy and interesting of a read this was and Mang put a unique and fresh spin on a lot of messages that you may have come across before. But it’s that unique spin that makes this book stand out, proving Mang is a master of her brand.

4CityGirlScapesRating

more information
amazon goodreads  website

published
august 25, 2016

copy provided for honest review by
author

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Book Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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veronica | If you’ve been paying attention you probably know that I am an avid Potterhead. I’ve read the entire series more times than I can count and eagerly anticipated the release of each movie. To describe how the Harry Potter series makes me feel is probably best left for a couch series😉

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is not a novel but required reading for every first years student at Hogwarts and though I never received my letter, I knew I wanted to read this anyway. The best part of this “text book” was the scribbles by Harry, Ron and Hermoine throughout the pages. It brought a smile to my face even when my personal space was invaded on a crowded subway.

Though the the movie (which we’re seeing TONIGHT!) is based on the beasts in it and is before Harry’s time, I’m still excited to be thrust back into the magical world. I may be a muggle (has yet to be proven that I’m NOT a witch), I will always appreciate this wonderful world that JK Rowling introduced us to.

4/5 Mugs of Butterbeer

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CityGirl Interview: Author Alli Mang

your-first-moment-front-coverashley | The world we are living in is changing and most people will be faced with having to change jobs numerous times throughout their career.  Alli Mang’s Your First Moment Earns You More Moments – Stand Out in Today’s Job Market is filled with tips and information for people who are looking to make a change or for those who find themselves out of work. But before I get to our review, we had a chance to talk with Mang about why she thought it want important to write this book.

CGS: How would you describe Your First Moment Earns You More Moments?

AM: Your First Moment Earns You More Momentsis an urgent call-to-action to understand the business of selling yourself: who are you, your sense of personal value, your expertise, and your reputation – which makes up your personal brand.

You did an extensive amount of research.  Can you describe your process?

For a year and a half, I interviewed over 250 high performance professionals including elite endurance athletes, Broadway performers, CEO’s, ER nurses, paramedics, fire fighters, pitch people and guest experts from the largest shopping channels in the world. I wanted to gain a clear perspective on what it takes to consistently deliver top results every time you get a chance and felt these people could provide the answers. I discovered that there are tremendous similarities of how these top performers prepare, focus and deliver results.

Your First Moment Earns You More Moments unveils the secrets and explains the totality of what it takes to deliver consistent excellence. I’ve designed the book to suit both the bottom line thinker who wants the nuts and bolts on a one-pager and the detail-craved individual who needs to be wooed and enticed to be convinced. If you want to get to the root of what higher performance selling is all about, this book is for you. There is no book like it in the marketplace today.

Why does this book stand out among all the books out there to help people find work?

 Your First Moment Earns You More Momentshelps you answer the more important questions – what makes you special, marketable, valued and valuable in your competitive professional environment. It helps people to quickly discover ways to bring out the best in themselves. To become their own authority on how to sell themselves and to celebrate and identify their own power within of what makes them a stand out right now! This knowledge will help you find work quickly because you will be way more focussed and ready to react and refine your pitch to any decision makers over people who have not read this book.

How does it compare to other books and why would someone pick this book up?

So many other books and articles send a message out that you must go away and work, work and even hide away to become something special/something different. My whole point is you are special now. You are marketable now. You are valued and valuable now. If you can’t see that or are in a position right now doesn’t allow you to see that, or you find it awkward to know how to sell yourself with integrity and without pretense, that is why this book was created.

Your First Moment Earns You More Moments is:

  1. Short & Easy to Remember – It is action oriented. Using charts and visuals, similar messages are repeated in different ways that speak to many people at one time. Everyone can pick this book up and get some insight they can apply to their career.
  2. Relatable – The reader can relate to thestories I have shared because I have included different demographics throughout my book and they are regular people just like you and me. They just happen to be doing extraordinary things because they know what differentiates themselves.
  3. Reassuring – Through the strategic use of quotes, other people’s stories and my own sharing of mistakes and successes, I want people to feel that if we choose to see that there is a bigger plan in place for all of us and today is the day to start to see that for ourselves. Each person has differentiating strengths they can identify and capitalize on.

 What do you think are the most challenging issues that young people are facing when finding work?

 Worldwide competition is a huge challenge. As a result, we must make it a priority to understand what differentiates us from our competition. This knowledge will grow and refine as we grow and refine. That is why I provided 3 trademarked sales strategies that work.

Be sure to check back Thursday for our review of Your First Moment…

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