Quiet – Shared Review

IMG_0089editedI’m sure most of you know that I like to read books and write reviews for this awesome blog. I also enjoy being by myself for a longer period of time (and no, I don’t feel lonely, I have my awesome self keeping me company 😉 ), yet I still like to hang out with my close friends and talk about everything and nothing. In group gatherings, I only talk when I think it’s necessary or when someone asked me a question, I rather like to listen to the hilarious stories my friends have to tell. Yet, when I am with a friend one-on-one, I can’t seem to stop talking. I like people, but in small doses.
But what does this have to do with this book review. Well, you see, this book is about introversion and it may or may not be a surprise for you to find I am an introvert. It’s safe to say that I have been an introvert for as long as I can remember. The only thing that was missing was the term and an explanation from people, instead of saying it’s “unusual” (aka weird) to spend a whole weekend by oneself to watch a favorite TV show (or read a book) or to not raise one’s hand in class to share the answer with the classmates. But I guess back then the terms “extrovert” and “introvert” had not made it to my 2,000 inhabitant “chicken town”.
Then, about a year ago, Ashley mentioned something about introversion or maybe it was me mentioning something to her, I don’t recall. But whoever told the other first is not important; the important thing is that we talked about it and I am really grateful for that.

In this past year I have managed to read my fair share of introvert articles and I learned a lot about my personality. Then a couple of weeks ago I finally found the time to dive into Susan Cain’s Quiet. She managed to explain introversion with various elements and history was one of them. She not only mentioned famous introverts like Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt and what they stood for, she also explained in great detail at what point extroversion started to take over the world.
Apart from history lessons, Cain uses real life experiences from real life people: high school/college/uni students, professors, parents, scientists, colleagues, friends etc. Those real life stories made me realize that there are way more introverts in this world than I ever expected. There are even those who act and seem extroverted but are actually introverted. I was told a few times by different people that they were surprised by my introversion. I may not be the most introverted person on the planet, since I like to go to bars with my friends, dance my feet off in a club from time to time or go on adventures during my travels. But there are still a lot of personality traits that make me an introvert. I guess I am just good at faking extroversion.

[The] Free Trait Theory [states, that] introverts are capable of acting like extroverts for the sake of work they consider important, people they love, or anything they value high. […] Free Trait Theory applies in many different contexts, but it’s especially relevant for introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal.

But she not only interviewed scientists about their own experiences, Cain also uses different studies from different scientists to underpin her own research about introversion.
And Susan Cain? This may not be a surprise for you, but Cain is an introvert herself. She understands what she talks about and she gave this book a personal touch by sharing her own experiences with the reader.

Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women in a man’s world, discounted because of a trait that goes to the core of who they are.

As the quote states, being an introvert these days is frowned upon. Today’s society and companies want us introverts to be loud, forthcoming, quick, brisk and confident. Being quiet, level-headed and cautious means you are weak. Introversion has become something negative. But the truth is, there is nothing negative about introversion; introversion is something positive that should be embraced. Being an introvert has many positive perks and Susan Cain states that throughout her entire book.
Reading the stories, facts and research projects made me more confident about my introversion and embrace it instead of being ashamed of it. This is who I am and by now I feel more comfortable in dealing with it more openly around other people.

Quiet is a book for everyone: it is for people who are not sure if they are introverted but would like to find out, for introverts who want to learn about their personality, for extroverted parents to learn more about their introverted child’s personality, for the extroverted boyfriend/girlfriend who wants to understand their introverted partner a little better, for everyone who always wanted to learn something about introversion.

Happy Reading,
Sabrina ♥

A few years ago, I first learned of the term “introvert” while scrolling through Pinterest. I found this photo and immediately thought, “Yes, that’s me!”I wish my parents would have done these things!

Giving a name to something that I felt made me seem strange my whole life was my first step in developing confidence about being a quiet person. After years of reading articles about introversion, and then finally taking they Myers-Briggs test to confirm I what I already knew, I finally was beginning to feel understood, or at least understanding myself. When I came across Susan Cain’s book, I knew I had to read it for the title alone. “Finally, someone gets it!!” As I dove into Quiet, I found myself underlining something on nearly every page. So many things were resonating with me after years of feeling like an outcast for being different from everyone else.

“By the time I was old enough to figure out that I was simply introverted, it was a part of my being, the assumption that there is something inherently wrong with me. I wish I could find that little vestige of doubt and remove it.”

Susan Cain delves into the history of introversion and the “Extrovert Ideal” America has placed on its citizens with the use of advertising and movies, and more so today with social media. Society feels the pressure to not only look beautiful and eye-catching, but have a winning personality, too. Unfortunately, the Extrovert Ideal did not simply target adults, children with forms of shyness in the 1920’s were considered to have “maladjusted personalities” and were thought more likely to develop problems later in life such as alcoholism and even commit suicide. However, children with outgoing personalities were likely to reap the most benefits in life, including financial and social success. All of these misconceptions were peddled to create “like-able people”.

Luckily, people like Susan Cain have studied and written books to debunk these old-fashioned ideas, which have helped create the most accepting time in history for introverted people. Today, there is more understanding of quiet and sensitive people than ever before, though there still is a long way to go. One of the most interesting things I found in Susan Cain’s writing was that high-reactive introverts tend to actually sweat more and literally have thinner skin than extroverts. Scientists believe this is where the idea of being “socially cool” comes from     “the cooler the skin, the cooler you are.” Fortunately, in today’s times people like Susan Cain, Laurie Helgoe, and websites like Introvert Dear are making Introversion seem cooler than ever before. Introverts are learning ways to stay true to who they are without feeling the need to pretend to be someone else quite as much, and Extroverts are learning ways to nurture the Introverts they love.

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story. Make a deal with yourself that you’ll attend a set number of social events in exchange for not feeling guilty when you beg off.”

If any of these topics resonate with you, you are likely to also be a more introspective type of person, too. As Sabrina said above, however, this book is beneficial to people of all personality types. We highly recommend this informative publication with the hope you will consider picking up a copy right away. You are likely to come away brimming with knowledge and newfound “quiet” confidence.

Happy Reading,
♥ Ashley

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My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review

Reading My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island was the most pleasant walk down memory lane for me. When I saw this title on NetGalley, I had to request it immediately due to the title alone.  I was born in Michigan and have vivid memories of visiting Mackinac Island and nearby St. Ignace as a child, though I haven’t been there in probably 20 years. The book featured scenes around Mackinac Island’s most famous landmarks, such as Arch Rock and The Grand Hotel and other areas around the island. One of the most interesting things about Mackinac Island is its restriction of motor vehicles. All of the sights must be seen from a carriage, bicycle, or on foot. I enjoyed the author’s use of bicycles in the story, making it seem realistic to the actual island, though the book was set in a time period before cars would have been common.

Image result for Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island)

In the first half of the story, we are acquainted with Maude, a young woman who finds she has been jilted by her beau. Her hopes of running the inn that has been in her family for years are dashed by her two-timing lover. Maude’s father’s refusal to turn the business over to his unmarried daughter forces her to take matters into her own hands by getting a job at the Grand Hotel as a maid, to prove her competence in managing a hotel.

Along the way, Maude meets a wealthy German aristocrat who seems immensely intriguing and kind.  She cannot help but be captivated by him after he inadvertently helps her young brother. Unfortunately, this impressive German man also has a secret he isn’t telling, and Maude is loathe to trust anyone after being deceived. Continue reading “My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island – Review”

Wait for It – Review

Wait for ItOne of the hardest things to do as a book blogger is to read an entire (670 page) book and give it a low-star review, especially when nearly half of Goodreads readers gave it the full 5 stars. Be warned, dear readers, I have an unpopular opinion ahead. Please don’t grab your torches and pitchforks.

Wait for It was the first Mariana Zapata book I have picked up. I knew about her high ratings, her hardcore fans, and her slow-burn romance style. All of these elements factored in to me choosing to read Wait for It, as it had been sitting on my TBR list for around a year. I needed a break from my current read and was looking for something I was bound to love. Unfortunately, Wait for It didn’t do it for me, as much as I wanted it to. I waited for it…I waited for the story to get rolling, I waited for the writing to get better, and I felt like it took until the last pages of this long book to improve incrementally.

Wait for It features the life of Diana, a young woman who inherited her nephews after the death of their parents, one being Diana’s brother. Diana is finally getting her life sorted out after such an unexpected and heartbreaking disruption, by moving into a new neighborhood. When Diana hears a fight happening outside of her new home, she decides to help out and break it up. The ungrateful recipient of Diana’s help is the younger brother of Diana’s new neighbor, Dallas. Eventually Diana and Dallas develop a friendship, which eventually grows into a deeper relationship.
Continue reading “Wait for It – Review”

The Over Duet – Review

The”Over Duet” which consists of Low over High and Ever over After was sitting on my kindle for what it seems like forever. I honestly don’t know why I waited so long to pick those books up  because I really enjoyed them.

IMG_0050editedLow Over High begins with an angsty, mysterious, yet powerful prologue of the main character Marlo Rivers (a part of the prologue is also the blurb of the novel). She talks about her cynical personality and her non-belief in hope and faith in humankind because those are only cliches “to keep the dreamers dreaming.” Marlo was not always like that, circumstances in her past made her that way. She tried to run from it for the last eight years but the past has a way of catching up and for Marlo it is in form of a crumpled note left on her porch. Continue reading “The Over Duet – Review”

Caterpillars Can’t Swim – Review

IMG_0059editedI am having a difficult time with Young Adult novels these days. Most of the time I find them too cheesy and not believable and this is why I usually keep my hands off them. Only when a blurb really piques my interest do I pick it up. Caterpillars Can’t Swim was one of those novels.

Ryan and Jack can’t be more different: Ryan sits in a wheelchair and swims successfully for the school’s swimteam. Jack on the other hand is a loner and the kid everyone picks on, since the school is full of rumors about his sexuality. When Ryan saves Jack from drowning, their lives become connected, whether they like it or not. Ryan keeps his promise to Jack and doesn’t tell anyone about that day, although he knows that Jack needs help. In an attempt to do so, he invites Jack to accompany him and his best friend Cody to Comic Con. Now the three will get the chance to defy society’s stereotypes. Continue reading “Caterpillars Can’t Swim – Review”

The Evolution of Ivy – Review

Bad. Bad. BAD….but so GOOD.

The Evolution of Ivy: Poison is an addicting debut novel from Lauren Campbell.  The main character, Ivy, is a tormented young girl enduring an endlessly painful life.

“I scurry to the back of the classroom, making eye contact with no one, and take my seat.  New outfits, fresh haircuts, and confidence burst from this room, this concrete prison where the kids are wardens, and I’m on Death Row.”

As her future circumstances change, she decides to assume a new identity and remake her life for the better. Her main goal: acquire the love of Brooks, the only boy she ever cared for. Ivy has a take no prisoners approach to her new lifestyle. After all, a person can only be hurt so many times. She refuses to let her plans be thwarted, no matter the cost.

As a reader, I love my fictional characters with a side of crazy.  Crazy people know life, they understand pain, and they don’t live in the traditional ways society imposes. This always makes for an interesting story.  The only thing that kept me from reading Ivy sooner were my hangups about the mature content within the pages. I normally try to avoid the more graphic and gritty novels because it simply makes me uncomfortable and isn’t my taste.  However, I knew I was going to love this story if I could overlook the parts I was apprehensive about.

Everything about this story, especially the characterization and plot were on point. Let’s not forget the amazing cover design by Murphy Rae of Indie Solutions. Lauren’s ability to tell Ivy’s story had me turning pages faster than I expected.  I could have finished the book in a day, but chose to savor it one more, to make the story more memorable. My empathy was triggered for Ivy’s past. It was heartbreaking to read the cruelty she faced, and I couldn’t help rooting for her to get revenge and take back the life she deserved, despite her less than moral antics. The story alternated between Ivy’s past and present, something I love as a reader, as it allows me to connect to the characters in a deeper way. We also were able to hear a bit of Brooks’ voice, and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the guy.

This is a sharply written, genre-busting page turner worth reading immediately, especially for fans of psychological thrillers.  I was immensely impressed with Lauren’s storytelling and her ability to put me into Ivy’s mind so thoroughly.  The Evolution of Ivy feels like the work of an author with eons of experience, not the debut novel it is.  I can’t wait to see The Evolution of Lauren Campbell as she shares more of her stories with the world.  I see the title New York Times Bestselling Author in her future. Give me more cray, cray, Lauren!!!

You need to snag a copy of this book now! It is sure to leave you wanting more of Ivy and Brooks.

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Happy Reading,

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Our Dream Reading Space

What would you say about your very own reading space and your very own library in your apartment/house? A place that only belongs to you. A place where you can give your favorite books a home and rearrange them by color, author or genre. Your own safe haven to read, relax and dream. Have you ever thought about such a place? What would it look like? With the help of Pinterest and the Arhaus living room collection, we decided to bring you our individual visions for the perfect reading nook.
Arhaus was founded in 1986 with a passion to provide unique, high quality, well designed home furnishings. Their philosophy was to design their own products, search for the best manufacturer while controlling quality, and bring the furniture direct to their customers. Their product developers travel the globe working directly with skilled artisans to craft pieces that can only be found at Arhaus, ensuring that every Arhaus piece meets their high quality standards.

images-arh-header Continue reading “Our Dream Reading Space”