My review: Media Queen, by Michelle Prak

About the book:

Jordyn Fairweather has worked hard to reach the top of the magazine world, but now she’s in trouble.

Younger media stars are scrambling to steal her crown, and companies are collapsing around her in the face of a new threat – the internet.

She’s come a long way from small town Beddo, where she obsessed over teen glossies until pushing her way into an internship with Sixteen magazine. But if Jordyn’s empire is going to survive, she needs to move fast and keep reinventing herself.

Spanning the late 90s and 2000s, Media Queen is a compulsive read with an outrageous main character. It comes with the essential ingredient that Jordyn demands of all her stories: juice!

Book No 2 in the #HollyAnna series – following Goodbye Newsroom – Media Queen can also be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

My review:

Forget Devil wears Prada. Meet Devil works in Media! – Media Queen

This fast-paced and twisty novel gives a fascinating insider’s look into the world of Australian media and how it progressed from print to online. The uniqueness of this book is that the main character isn’t perfect and traditional ‘good girl’ like it always happens to be in the novels and which is, to be honest, extremely annoying. It’s refreshing to see a protagonist like that. She has lots of negative traits but at the same time possesses admiring qualities like high motivation, desire to win, hawk eye for new trends, good business gut feeling. She is pure professional inspiration for many working in media or near it. Jordyn has a drive that stimulates competition and progress. People like her are very inspiring. She does lack some people’s skills but when she knows what she needs from them – she understands people really well.

I really enjoyed Michelle’s book, it was fast paced and had some twists that kept me glued to the pages. Fascinating flight of Jordyn’s career was quite inspirational and her hunger for fresh ideas was contagious. You can hate Jordyn, you can admire her, you can judge her, you can relate to her, you can despise her actions, you can do many other things but one is true 100% – she can’t make you feel indifference.

It is quite light reading, so if you are looking for something like that, it’s definitely recommended.

It’s not just a chick flick book, it’s like the Cosmo in a novel – there is everything – flirt, love, family, friendships, career, big city life, social media and more.

My review: Untamed by Glennon Doyle

About the book:

There is a voice of longing inside every woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good mothers, daughters, partners, employees, citizens, and friends. We believe all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives, relationships, and world, and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this?

Four years ago, Glennon Doyle, author, activist and humanitarian, wife and mother of three—was speaking at a conference when a woman entered the room. Glennon looked at her and fell instantly in love. Three words flooded her mind: There She Is. At first, Glennon assumed these words came to her from on high. Soon she realized that they came to her from within.

Glennon was finally hearing her own voice—the voice that had been silenced by decades of cultural conditioning, numbing addictions, and institutional allegiances. She vowed to never again abandon herself. She decided to build a life of her own—one based on her individual desire, intuition, and imagination. She would reclaim her true, untamed self.

My review:

This book became some sort of revelation to me that some of the things I feel and think have their explanation and supported by Glennon and many others. As I am trying to learn how to be a good mother but most importantly to learn how to make my daughter happy in this world, I found some answers in the Untamed.

Coming from a very ‘traditional’, sexist society I now realise what always didn’t quite work for me all those years while I was growing up. ‘Taming’ girls and boys is so strong in our world culture and goes back in the past so far that now we face generations of unhappy people or people that are not quite sure what is wrong and what stops them from being themselves, from being human and not just culturally programmed citizens.

Some parts didn’t quite relate to me but it is alright as it is Glennon’s experience and life. I got many good ideas and thoughts out of this book that help me to sharpen my intention to stop contributing into our children’s unhappiness. My daughter is so untamed, bold, confident and knows what she wants. And she is not even two years old. I want her to keep these qualities as she is growing up.

Some parts of the book became quotes that I want to print out and frame as everyday reminders. Reminders to myself to stay myself, to listen to myself more and be confident in who I am.

I would recommend this book to everyone who keeps wondering and discovering things in life and how to approach and live your life.

My review: The Passengers, by John Marrs

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About the book:

Eight self-drive cars set on a collision course. Who lives, who dies? You decide.

When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.

The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?

My review:

Another hit from one of my favourite authors. John Marrs never disappoints. I literally couldn’t put this book down. It just took me hostage and held me tight to the end. The number of twists and turns was purely mind-blowing. John Marrs takes us on an entertaining, chilling, fast-track and driver-less ride where technology betrays humans.

The plot and idea are super fresh and relevant. Driverless cars are not a new concept but the potential consequences of this were never explored in such way. After I finished the book, I came across driverless bus that was going through trial in one of the areas of the city. To be honest, I felt unease and it reminded me John’s book. I am sure it will take years or possibly decades for this to happen on a road and in suburbia, but the potential risks should be taken into account.

This book isn’t just about risks of new technologies; it’s about opportunities and potential actions that need to be considered to avoid any malice.

The characters are so different which makes the book a very exciting read. You start asking yourself a question from the book, “Who lives, who dies?”.

Without any spoilers, this book is fantastic and can’t recommend it enough. Loved it!

My review: The Train Guy, by Michelle Prak

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About the book:

How do you introduce yourself to a stranger?

Charli is obsessed with The Train Guy.

She sees him every weekday waiting for the 8.05am from Roselea Station. She’s convinced he’s the man for her, but Charli is too terrified to say hello.

Her world is upside down since Eddie left her in humiliating circumstances. Now Charli is advertising for tenants to share her inner-city cottage, and her friends are pushing her to apply for a promotion at the cute hotel where she works. And don’t even mention what happened with the Prime Minister.

Everything would be perfect if she could just meet The Train Guy. He’s chivalrous. He’s handsome. He’s perfect. Isn’t he?

Charli has read enough spy stories to know that she could find out more about The Train Guy – by following him.

Part rom-com, part chase, The Train Guy is a page-turning joy to read.

My review:

Michelle’s second book is a real page-turner. Usually page-turners belong to thriller or suspense genre. For a rom-com it is rare which makes this book really special. I must say I quite enjoyed the plot and the main characters. I was also surprised to see a mention of the project I work for J (if I got it right). In general, this book is a light but inspiring read.

Charli is quite likable girl that anyone can relate to. I was excited to follow her thoughts, dreams and her story. Her sweet and fun character makes her an ideal bestie everyone is dreaming to have.

Several times I laughed out loud as the book reminded me myself and my fellow commuters on the train. Okay, I also have The Train Guy! I haven’t seen him since the end of the year, he must’ve broken his leg… I hope he is okay. Probably, I won’t follow Charli’s steps to try to engage with him, though.

It was fascinating to follow Charli’s story – from a single, sad, shy girl to a confident manager who knows what she wants in her professional and personal life and who wants to enjoy life to the fullest. I liked how Michelle perfectly described the development of Charli’s character. So many of us (female readers) see ourselves in Charli.

This book is perfect for a light holiday read, but also for the train ride to work.

 

My review: Goodbye Newsroom, by Michelle Prak

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About the book:

When reporter Anna is sacked from the newsroom, she limps home for sympathy from her sister and housemate, Holly. But she discovers that Holly is jobless too, after resigning from the Fairweather Report, a celebrated women’s website.

Now, Holly has grand plans for starting her own online media empire, and she insists that Anna joins her.

Anna’s first task? She’s whisked away to an influencer tour of Uruguay. It’s scary stuff for a reporter who barely knows the difference between hashtags and HTML, but at least handsome Donovan is there to help.

Life becomes even trickier when Holly publishes Anna’s romantic adventures on their fledging website. The sisters become an online sensation, but Anna is furious that her private life is being used for clicks.

Will the sisters stick together and make a living in this new media world? Or will Anna return to a newsroom again?

And who is Holly’s menacing and persistent troll?

If you love career stories like Devil Wears Prada or The Bold Type, you’ll adore Goodbye Newsroom, a modern ode to self-made young women whose greatest tools are their smartphones.

“Perfect for the digital-savvy reader who wants to escape into a juicy world of public relations, A-list parties and online intrigue.”

My review:

It took me an unusually long time to finish Michelle’s debut novel because the release coincided with my own debut as a mum of a baby girl. So, reading was happening bit by bit, during and between the feeds and naps. Sometimes I felt so tired that couldn’t read a single line, even to save my life.

Anyway, enough complaining, back to the review 🙂

The book brought back many familiar feelings. The area of work of two main characters, Australian specifics, some events in girls’ lives. It all made me feel like I know Holly and Anna for a long time. They are your usual friends – girls living next door, with their own interests, love life, ambitions. Both of them are very likeable and you empathise with them immediately.

Holly is bold and brave, Anna seems to be a little bit more sensitive. Anna’s redundancy brought back my feelings of the time when I got redundant at work. All the hurt and regrets… looking for options and trying to find a new ‘me’. I felt all the sympathy for Anna who had to come back to her workplace and keep the face in front of colleagues.

It is a great debut for Michelle who incorporated her experience with media into the plot of the novel and effortlessly raised some important questions.

I quite enjoyed the book, an easy read that touches close personally to me and many current subjects – the world and the challenges of mainstream media, social media community and influencers, career choices in this industry, ethical issues and boundaries that people can face on social channels.

What I also liked about the book is that to me it is about the change. Changes in the industry, person’s life, way of living, in everything and Goodbye Newsroom shows well how all these changes, despite being scary and daunting, are still positive and only happen for the best.

The only downside for me is that the book finished too fast. It felt a bit rushed to the end, I would’ve like to read more. I guess I will wait for a sequel 🙂

My score is 4* out of 5*.