Self-Help Book Rec’s

If in doubt there’s probably a self-help book out there for it and so this post is dedicated to some of the self-help books I highly recommend. From writing craft to the finer details of marketing to even changing the way we think, let us dive in.

‘Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing’ By Catherine Ryan Howard

If there was one book that paved the way for this blog’s very existence, it would be this guide by Catherine Ryan Howard who has since gone on to have massive success with her writing – I’m talking six figure publishing deal kind of success, and my journey was inspired by Self-Printed which is a guide for both authors and bloggers. The writing style is fun and its a great insight into what it takes to self publish.

‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ – Stephen King

Say what you like about probably the greatest American story-teller of a generation and seemingly it appears to be the fashion to not like him in some circles but Stephen King has put together a fantastic guide that is both craft and practical based. I’d say that anyone who is looking to get more from their writing should invest in this one, its not even that long for a King book, so win win.

Break Them All!!: A Modern Era Awakening! by DRTao

Keeping to the theme of shorter guides, ‘Break Them All’ refers to unlocking the potential of your own mind by overcoming things such as ego and ambition in a positive sense to be a better person. Easy to read and also intelligent, this different but great guide is well worth a look.

‘Lazy Creativity: The Art of Owning Your Creativity’ by Kyle Bernier

I discovered this guide via Reedsy Discovery and ‘Lazy Creativity’ kind of normalises the fact that its okay to be lazy in your creative endeavours. Its detailed and covers many different types of creativity from the view of an artist who is also therapist. It certainly opened my eyes.

‘Amazon Keywords for Books: How to Use Keywords for Better Discovery on Amazon’ by Dale L. Roberts

Another Reedsy Discovery find and it’s an incredible eye opening resource for those published via Amazon – most reading this are and this book focuses on the power of Amazon’s search bar/key word optimization. This is just the tip of a big iceberg that deep dives into how the world’s biggest book retailer functions. Highly recommended.

‘The Art & Business of Writing: A Practical Guide to the Writing Life’ by Chris Jones

Chris Jones lays out his tenured journey in the writing industry while generously passing on his wisdom in an easy-to-read guide full of resources that will either help or reassure the modern writer or both. Many other guides suffer from over informing or throwing way too much at once to the reader but here we get a fine balance between just the right amount of information and a tone that is friendly and consistent.

And so that wraps up my self-help book rec’s. Thank you for reading!

‘Billy Summers’ by Stephen King – Review

An enduring multi-layered tale of one gun for hire and his final shot…

Stephen King has succeeded yet again in turning his hand to crime fiction but describing this story as just a few genres would be an understatement because like always, you get your money’s worth. ‘Billy Summers’ is the name of a man who is a gun for hire, he has a sometimes dark history which readers will gradually realise while also being connected to the underworld of big business and organised crime.

There is a lot to unpack and digest here along with references of many different things through multiple layers, some I grasped and probably others I missed. A few figurative elbows are aimed towards modern politics but for the most part we stay in the neighbourhood King is known for. Our main character turns his own hand to writing a memoir of war, childhood trauma and much more while carrying out a final mission. They do say ‘write what you know’ and for this story its metaphorical in a sense. The ‘dumb self’ concept is particularly clever and a needed vessel to give Summers a certain calculated depth although my only criticism is we don’t get all of him and after such a long read is kind of a waste to me. For a man who spends much of his time covering up who he is, readers never really get to know the real side to him.

Of course the story is an enduring one, we have a slow introduction and long middle and even a long end but it works for the most part. There are many twists, turns and that textbook depraved/twisted style which Stephen King is known for but in smaller doses. I particularly appreciated the reference to one of his older works and for those who aren’t into the supernatural side of things, this one is perfect for you.

4 Stars

‘Mr Mercedes’ by Stephen King – Review

Satisfying and suspenseful crime thriller that’ll keep you reading….

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While Stephen King might be known for stories with a paranormal edge he’s more than capable of delivering one in the realms of a modern crime thriller. Of course he keeps the depravity and absurdity close nit because that’s what he does and I might be questioning my own tastefulness here when I say I kind of enjoy where he goes sometimes; even if its on the fringes sick. This is for all intents and purposes to tell a story and that he does here.

We see the typical loner/mother issues/tech nerd killer who takes his own aspirations to more and more depraved heights while he also taunts the cop who could never catch him, a retired detective. This could have been a police procedural if the main character ‘ Bill Hodges’ hadn’t given back his badge so instead its a cat and mouse private investigator type set up that grows more and more dramatic. While he chooses not to confide in old colleagues about a still to be caught perp, he takes the taunting personally and this sets up the perfect conflict that double backs on the story.

There are secondary characters that bring possibly more dimension than the mains and they become needed by ‘Hodges’ in this world of computers, social media and technology. By the end you’re rooting for them to pull out the win. It’s dark, urban, mystery intertwined and thrilling fun written in the highest quality.

5 Stars – My first paperback read in nearly two years. Back to indie reads now…. 

IT Chapter 2 – Review

Derry, Maine – 27 Years later – the ‘losers’ club reunite to take on the horrors that haunted them as kids in what is probably the most anticipated film of 2019 and guess what, they didn’t fu** it up! In fact there are several references to not liking endings throughout what is one hell of culmination and personally, enough to cap off one hell of story…. 

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Pennywise has risen and the film opens with reference to the pact which the loser’s club made to face him if he would ever return. The story then begins in ‘present’ day. Things start off quite brutal and really are a sign of what is to follow. This time the whole deal felt more psychological as opposed to physical horror, I would even hazard to guess everyone’s favourite clown has a severely reduced screen time compared to chapter 1 but his appearances were consistent and carried impact just like the man who plays him Bill Skarsgård.

We are introduced one by one to the ‘club’ who are now adults, and the players they have assembled is probably some of the best casting in modern cinema. They really have put in efforts to find people who not only resemble the kids but their whole personality and chemistry together is something that I found a pleasure to watch. It’s funny and meaningful without being over emotional or even cheesy. These kids went through so much and you feel it as a passenger on this roller coaster ride.

They assemble and a journey begins to find a way to kill Pennywise for good. Each of the now grown up kids has to find a ‘token’ of their past and use it to destroy the threat of the present. It’s a clever way of metaphorically saying ‘we beat it before, so we can beat it for good this time’. Chapter two not only references the masterpiece that was Chapter one but we are taken back many times throughout showing scenes that weren’t in the first. It fills in the gaps while all the more adding a lot more weight to the already detailed story.

It nostalgia and familiarity of the present day rolled into one; a perhaps original concept that makes this film flow and you forget about running times entirely. I’ve kept this review vague because Chapter two really is worth a watch. It’s a compliment to the first and so much more. The characters, the visuals, the jumpiness and everything else. Stephen King is a master story teller and it is films like this that do his work justice. You may even see him make a cameo briefly…

10/10 – Must watch for anyone who has seen the first, if you haven’t go now!