Former model and young widow, Katrina King, craves a low-profile life, but when she meets a cute guy at a coffee shop, she’s suddenly viral on Twitter. Desperate to escape before the identity of #CuteCafeGirl is discovered, Katrina’s bodyguard Jas Singh whisks her away to his family’s orchard. Will Katrina be able to keep her growing affection for Jas at bay? Will Jas’ long-running family dispute get in the way? Will Katrina keep her identity secret?
I settled down with Girl Gone Viral thinking it would be a fluffy, sweet romance with little filler, but was I wrong — Girl Gone Viral is so much more! This is the second in the Modern Love series by Alisha Rai, and while I haven’t read the first book in the series, I don’t think that affected my reading of Girl Gone Viral.
Both of the main characters struggle with mental health (depression, anxiety, and PTSD), and the discussions of therapy, how to support a friend that needs help, and complex family dynamics were handled well and with compassion. It’s not often that I find a fiction book that addresses mental health in such an everyday, commonplace way. I’m encouraged to see the beginnings of the normalization of mental health and therapy in contemporary fiction. This is also the second book I’ve read recently (the previous was the YA book Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith) that dealt with online targeting, doxing, stalking, and harassment. I am pleased to see more contemporary novels address the issue.
The pacing of the romance was near perfect. I liked the slow burn and the will-they-or-won’t-they drama. I did feel, however, the ending was rushed and would have liked a few more pages fleshing that out.
Overall, I really enjoyed this quick read and will look for the first in the series.
I’ve read/listened to most of Carrie Vaughn’s works, especially her Kitty Norville series. She’s a favorite genre writer of mine. Paranormal Bromance is a novella set in the world of Kitty, but it stands alone. It’s a good jumping on point for anyone interested in a contemporary world where vampires are real. These vampires in question are not your stereotypical vampires. The main character is a video game playing nerd. This short work has wit and humor aplomb. And the narration is good. If you have any interest in this, it’s worth the short run time.
If you are a fan of comic Tina Fey, you should give her book Bossypants a listen. Fey narrates it herself and does a great job. I cannot imagine anyone else narrating it. Fey sprinkles in her personal history and anecdotes with a memoir of her career. Humor is abundant throughout the book.
I listened to the digital audiobook. The PDF full of pictures and other documents was not available. Fey mentioned those rather frequently. I wish I had that to look at while I listened. I still think I would prefer the audio since Fey narrates it.
Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to be by Rachel Hollis
Chic Media founder Rachel Hollis shared personal experiences in her book Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to be.Her successful event planning business and lifestyle website TheChicSite.com offer tips for living a better life. Rachel’s podcasts and speaking engagements feature her raw personality, wry wit, and advice while revealing the awkwardness of her loud Oklahoma childhood. Her Daddy was a minister, while her Mama played the church piano. Her eight books provide humor, recipes for success in the kitchen and in life, and honest guidance.
Parallel to Charles Dickens’ “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times,” Rachel experienced a roller coaster childhood. Lacking consistency in her life, she felt doubt, fear, and insecure about her body, relationships, and embracing change.
The disappointing aspect of Girl, Wash Your Face was the author’s conversational language. The reader is caught in emotional drama, self-destructive behaviors, and poor judgment. The writer rambles about her challenges and issues like a chatty middle school girl. However, Rachel’s honest feelings about nerve-wracking obsessions with soda, food, her body, and friendships guarantees her book will be a page turner holding the reader’s attention.
One disturbing element in this book remains how Rachel faces certain situations. Floundering and stumbling, she is overwhelmed and lacks a role model or system of support. Her poor etiquette and communication skills result in anxiety and disappointment. When her hesitation to accept the chaos in her past transformed into a definite “make something from nothing” mentality, Rachel’s recognized she need not follow a cookie cutter pattern to be successful.
One realistic piece of the story displays how Rachel shifts to adulthood, speaks her mind, sets and identifies specific goals, and recognizes she is not “like other moms.” She is to be commended for her honest insight. In the vein of “The worst lies are the lies you tell yourself,” Hollis is determined to “show up and get to work, get off the couch, and stop drinking soda.” When she values recording experiences in a journal and not comparing herself to others, she overcomes criticism. A pivotal point occurs when she analyzes a better version of herself, celebrates confidence, and suspends lying. Each chapter focuses one particular lie; nonetheless, she is determined to change misconceptions to guide women into being joyful and successful without worry. Giving them the confidence to productively move forward is an uplifting message.
One hilarious scene of learning to operate a stick shift vehicle sours when her Father repeatedly screams and corrects her. Not only did her brother die, Rachel found his body and cannot erase that traumatic image from her mind. If she wants her own transportation, she must drive her brother’s car adding another shock to her system. Wading in unchartered water, her family faced devastating loss without healing from counseling. Her dysfunctional rearing and noisy family life involve an unfortunate stream of tears.
Rachel presents real issues with a spit fire attitude and authentic approach connecting with women around the world. Her blogs and books trigger innovative and compelling conversation on various topics ranging from cooking, reading, exercising, to digital dimensions. She cautions to be “careful with commitments” and avoid casting judgment, since everyone has a unique past.
The frenzy of pregnancy, raising children, and dealing with a broken foster care system are tumultuous facets of Rachel’s life. Myriad tug and pull obstacles in securing foster children identify a nightmare of working with a social service agency. She credits her husband Dave for his steadfast resolution and reveling their accomplishments.
If whining and venting console you, read Girl, Wash Your Face. Although I did not appreciate her writing style, I welcomed her power of positive messages: “Face your fears, share your anxieties, make lists, stop self-medicating, get up an hour earlier, go to therapy, exercise, drink water, organize, and volunteer.”
I was disappointed with her undisciplined retorts as a young adult; however, I admire her lifelong zealous spirit and soaring mindset encouraging others to pursue dreams and “adjust your posture.” Creating a vision board or collage of favorite credos or philosophies inspires the reader. When Rachel found fitness, she learned the value of and exhilaration in running. She endorses and hosts Rise Run events that relish workouts and celebrate a hunger for exercise.
If you can relate to the introduction of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, you will benefit from reading and sharing Girl, Wash Your Face! “It was the season of light; it was the season of darkness; it was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair.” One shouting silver lining may include to think big, innovate, and inspire yourself and others. What will you “take and make” from Rachel’s story?