Friday, July 31, 2015

How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton

When I was in Primary school, I used to borrow my friend's Brownie's handbook and read it, because for some reason, I found it fascinating. Even when I was older, I always thought the Girl Guides looked like fun. Yet despite all that, I was never in any of the uniform groups. This book, however, makes me wish I was.

I first heard about How the Girl Guides Won the War when the author was interviewed on This American Life (Gotta listen to the people who gave us Serial occasionally). I was intrigued by the notion of guides all the way in China, and by the fact that they played a part in the war. So luckily for me, Scribd had a copy, and I managed to read it.

How the Girl Guides Won the War was supposed to be a satirical look at the Guides, but when the author started researching, she found out just how much the Guides contributed to the war effort, the book changed direction.

This book starts off with Pax Ting, an international Girl Scouts camp. Unfortunately, the happy atmosphere is threatened by the threat of war. With this prologue, the book delves into its subject matter. It starts off with a brief history of how the Girl Scouts came to be, and then explored the various ways Guides helped in the war. From helping refugee children find a sense of belonging, to sending classified messages, or helping take care of the wounded, the guides were everywhere. Even in China, Guides helped one camp of POW children find a sense of normalcy.

What all these guides did was incredibly heroic. I'm amazed that none of this has popped up before, in history books, or my favourite Good Night Mr. Tom (Maybe it did and I just didn't notice it? I'll have to go grab some tissues and re-read the book).

This was a wonderful book, and it made me wish I had joined the Guides/Brownies. What they did made them heroes, and I wish more people knew that.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Goebbels: A Biography by Peter Longerich

I'm guessing everyone knows about WWII and Hitler and Nazi Germany, but how many people here have heard of Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda? I found his name familiar, but whether he was in my history textbook or not is something that I'd completely forgotten. So it's safe to say I went into this book not knowing anything except that this guy was supposed to be a pretty high ranking Nazi member.

Like the title says, this is a biography. Using Goebbel's diaries as a starting point, Peter Longerich carefully goes through his life, from his failed attempt at being a writer, to meeting Hitler, to becoming Minister of Propaganda, and to his death. The diaries aren't the only source though - Longerich refers to many, many other sources (about 20%, or close to 220 pages out of 990 of the e-ARC I received would be the bibliography) and does a comprehensive job of showing how Goebbels diaries are not a good source of accurate information.

Goebbels was basically a narcissist who was used by Hitler. He keeps boasting about how close he was, but odds are, if he didn't have a pretty wife that Hitler liked, he wouldn't have progressed as far. He wasn't even as successful as he liked to think he was either. He was basically used to the very end. Seriously, once you get past halfway through the book (or maybe even earlier), you can see the pattern of Hitler using him over and over again.

If you're looking for a detailed look into the life of Joseph Goebbels, this is probably the book for you. I can think of several history-buff friends of mine that would probably life this book. It's not a light read, but if you read to the end, you'll probably have learnt more than you wanted to know about Goebbels (unless you're doing a paper on him, then I suppose you'll be referring to this book a lot).

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Gifted by J.A. George

I finished the book, and then I realised what it reminded me of - The Incredibles and Sky High. Maybe more Sky High than incredibles. Anyway, as the two movies should have clued you in, Gifted is about a bunch of kids with superpowers who have to save their world.

Ava was perfectly ordinary until she came across a dying woman. Before the lady died though, she gave Ava a cryptic message and passed a Gift to her. And just like that, Ava becomes gifted. With her new abilities (and she's not too sure what it is either), she meets Theo, a handsome guy who introduces her to Hayven, a magical city only for gifted. As Ava comes to terms with her gift, she makes new friends.

There was a lot I liked about this, and a bit that I didn't quite like. So, let's start with the good:

Hayven and the gifted people sound incredible. They all have different powers (though some can be similar), and I loved reading about how things work in that world. In general, the world building and the back-story of this book was solid.

Character-wise, my favourite character had to be Baleigh. She's this no-nonsense girl from Hayven, and I want her to be my new friend, even if she spends the first few weeks acting like I'm annoying. She's incredibly direct, but she's also kind. There's no "mean girl" exterior, just someone who's really blunt.

Now for the stuff that I didn't quite like.

First, is the romance. That shouldn't be much of a surprise to regular readers, because I'm not a big romance fan. I could have accepted the insta-love because it wasn't too strong, but what annoyed me was how immature Theo was the whole time. I get it, he's supposed to be a nice guy with a mean girlfriend, but I was just sighing the whole time. [Slight spoilers] Guy, if you like another girl, it's unfair to your current girlfriend if you stay with her. And it's unfair to the girl to lead her on.

The second is a slightly bigger issue for me: it's the pacing. After the really exciting start, the first two thirds of the book has nothing going on. Sure, Ava is learning and all that, but the stakes set in the opening chapters quickly fizzle out. Ava's life becomes all about Hayven, and her former "best friend" and good friends are nothing more than an afterthought. There is some attempt at explaining why the friendship died, but I wasn't very convinced.

Basically, the first two thirds was a bit boring to me. I wanted more action. However, things picked up in the last third, as I found out important details about what Ava is supposed to do, and the threat level increases. I'm definitely interested in finding out what happens next.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author via Enchanted Blog Tours in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie

Despite the fact that the author says she wants to debunk the myths Disney princesses, not all of them made it into this collection of Princess Stories. Mulan isn't inside (and ok, she's a myth, but so was the first princess in the book!) and neither was Pocahontus. It's a pity, because I think their true stories are interesting.

Princesses Behaving Badly is a collection of very, very short biographies of a variety of notable princesses, loosely grouped in categories like "Warriors, "Madwomen", "Survivors" and "Floozies". A few of them, like Roxolana, achieve happy endings of a sort, but most of them have tragic lives and tragic endings. I suppose she did, sort of, break the myth that all princesses have happily ever after.

While I appreciated learning about the many, many princesses that I didn't know about, I was surprised at some of the princesses who was left out. Princess Diana, who is probably one of the most famous "modern" princesses is one. Empress Dowager Cixi is another. Wu Zetian was included, but I should add a warning for the audiobook people: the pronunciation of Wu Zetian was mangled in the audiobook version I heard. It made me suspicious of the pronunciations of all other names.

A third "princess" I can think of is Wang Zhaojun. I read about her a long time ago, but she is fascinating, and I want to share a bit of her story. Wang Zhaojun is considered to be one of the Four Great Beauties in Ancient China, and according to legend, made birds fall from the sky. While she wasn't born a princess, she was born to be a prominent family, and by all accounts, was beautiful and intelligent. She entered the emperor's harem, but because she refused to bribe the court photographer, he painted ugly moles on her, meaning that she never ever met the emperor. Years later, the Emperor was trying to choose an ugly girl to present as his daughter, because he didn't want to give some guy a real princess (but he had to). So he chose Wang Zhaojun, although he regretted it when he met her in person. But, a choice is a choice, and Wang Zhaojun was sent away, although it's hard to say whether she lived happily ever after. She did seem to be loved by her husband though (although she had to remarry after he died).

Back to the book. All in all, the book is an interesting compilation of various little-known princesses. There is a pretty diverse range of princesses, although I have the impression that there are more Western princesses than other countries.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - The Portal Project by Kat Folland

I'm back! I came back on Sunday, and managed to post yesterday. But, I have three reports on the trip due, so....

Anyway, I'm currently reading The Portal Project: Danagu Omnibus by Kat Folland. Kat's one of my Google+ friends, and I'm really enjoying the book so far.

My teaser:

"When Kristy and I arrived in the front hallway, Amaleen was just coming out of the den, followed by Bart with Baka on a lead. Becky was, amusingly, riding at her ease on Baka's head, which caused the cow to flick her ears irritably but nothing more." 

Can you tell which are the humans here?

What is your teaser?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

When things get stressful, I look for something easy to read. Something that's going to grip me and make me forget about school life for a few hours. Eeny Meeny was what I needed. Although I don't want any of the things written here to happen to me, my loved ones or any stranger.

You see, Eeny Meeny is about serial murders. But it's not the normal "crazy killer kills multiple people" type of murder. Like the rhyme "eeny meeny miny moe" (which according to one legend, was used by the Druids to choose who to sacrifice - there doesn't seem to be much basis for this though!), there are two potential victims in each "turn". The one that makes it out alive is the one that chooses to kill the other.

Detective Helen Grace is in charge of these murders, and the more she investigates, the more it seems that this is all connected to her. But it couldn't be... could it?

I found Detective Helen Grace to be an interesting character. She reminds me of Fiona Griffin from Harry Bingham (CHECK)'s series, but sane and slightly more grounded. Both of them are decidedly not-normal, and both of them are good cops. The only difference is that Helen Grace is better at working the system.

Plot-wise, I found the book to be gripping throughout. The chapters are short, and the book moves quickly (I more or less finished the book within 24 hours). The twist is the plot was a little bit unbelievable, since I didn't see any clues that led up to it. But if you can accept the twist, the last part of the book really is the climax, and was well-executed.

One last thing: this book is told through a series of different POVs. It's normally one POV per chapter (one short chapter), but sometimes, two POVs appear in one. When I first tried reading this book (on the kindle app), the chapter breaks and scene breaks weren't there, which made the reading really difficult. But on the Bluefire app, there were proper chapter numbers, which meant that I could follow along more easily. So this is a sort of warning that the constantly switching POVs might be confusing.

All in all, this was a gripping and scary book. It was definitely a far far cry from my normal life, and managed to distract me for a few hours.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Teasr Tuesday: How the Girl Guides Won the War by Janie Hampton

Hey everyone! I hope you had a good start to the week! I'll be going on a school trip from tomorrow onwards (so if you comment, I'll probably drop by your blog sometime around Sunday, sorry!), and luckily, I have quite a few books to read.

Ok, one is a school book, but still.

For the "fun" non-fiction, I'm reading How The Girl Guides Won the War. I heard about it on a This American Life episode, and it intrigued me. Luckily, Scribd has it. So far, I'm enjoying this book.

My teaser:

"The best part was learning Morse code and being able to signal secret messages to each other. We did a lot of stalking in the woods. We would have used these skills if the Germans had invaded." 
What is your teaser?
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo

I got this book on a whim at BookOff, and while I enjoyed it, it also confused me.

For starters, is this fiction or non-fiction? The narrative style makes me think it's fiction, but the way the book is structured was... strange. It was either some extremely unconventional form of the novel, or not a novel. Surprise, surprise, it's a non-fiction book. Just written in a very fictionalised way - I wouldn't take what it says at its word, and I enjoyed reading it.

The Murder Room is basically about the Vidocq Society, which is a club for the best detectives, and its three founding members, William Fleisher, Frank Bender and Richard Walter. It covers the professional history of the three members (including why they got into the jobs they did), the founding of the society, and its cases.

Since most of the cases the Vidocq Society takes on are cold cases, I found all of them interesting. Not to mention that the society only takes on cases that are not only unsolvable (for at least two years), but the victim must be an innocent. That means I wanted every single victim to find justice. Several times, I set the book aside to search for information on whatever case I was reading, in hopes that there was a satisfying ending.

If there's one thing I'd complain about the book, it's really the "too much like fiction" aspect. These people do not sound human. The book might just not be covering their failures, but it seems like whatever conclusion they draw is the right one. Bender and Walter even remind me a little of Heiji and Shinichi (the two teen detectives from the anime Detective Conan) - perfect as a pair, but bickering. Ok, that was only Heiji and Shinichi at first. But yeah, everyone seems too much like a character in a novel to me.

Apart from that, I really enjoyed the book. I like mysteries, and the thought that some of the smartest people are working on the unsolvable cases is amazing. If they are as good as the book says they are, then there's no doubt that they're making big differences in society, and in particular, in the lives of the families of victims.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

In Your Face by Shari Graydon

We may not think about it, but advertising and the beauty industry affects our perception of beauty. How is it that fat used to be beautiful, but now skinny is in? It's probably marketing (I think. Never take a marketing class unless you want to suspect everything is a form of advertising). At any rate, In Your Face: The Culture of Beauty and You tries to peel back the layers to look at how beauty is defined, and examine our perceptions of beauty.

When I say "our", I really mean "the Western standard of beauty", but "our" was much easier to write. Besides, I think it's safe to say that Western beauty standards have influenced much of the world.

Topics covered by In Your Face include fairytales and beauty, the history of beauty, double standards for men and women, whether being beautiful is an advantage. All in all, there are ten chapters, each exploring a different aspect of beauty. Most of the focus is on Western beauty, although there are brief mentions of African/Asian/Other parts of the world (mostly as a comparison to the West, so it's not really examining their culture of beauty).

Each chapter is written in a conversational style, and laid out like a magazine. It's bright and colourful, with fancy fonts and quite a few images. At the end of the chapter, there is a one page summary, with each point in a box.

I really liked this book. I wasn't expecting a serious treatise on how we view beauty (the cover set my expectations), and when I look back at the book, it seems to have covered a lot more than I thought it would. I think that this serves as a good introduction to the idea of beauty, and how it has been seen throughout the ages.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Black Lotus by Claire Warner

When I read the synopsis of this book, I was thinking "oh cool, historical fiction. And a hint of something special. I can probably deal with the romance." Unfortunately, while the backdrop to the world was interesting, the starting and the protagonist irritated me so much that I couldn't really enjoy the book.

The Black Lotus is about Melissa De Vire, who's making her debut into society. She's not normal, having learnt to shoot from her brother, but her parents are really strict so she has to make a good match. Oh, and she's drop dead gorgeous. That basically screamed "Mary Sue" to me. Anyway, at her first party, after she's presented to the King, she meets the "cad" Justin Lestrade, and despite the fact that she's warned about him, ends up talking to him anyway. But Justin isn't human, and now that Melissa's got his attention...

Ok, I'm going to start with the things I didn't like, and when I'm done, go on to the stuff I like.

First, Melissa. Melissa just annoyed me. It may be because I've been reading Limyaael's Fantasy Rants lately, but you're telling me that a properly raised girl in that society is going to start questioning the social order on her first day out? True, her brother seems unconventional, but her father is strict and very about propriety. Her mother listens to the dad. So how is it that she questions everything? It's as though she's a modern girl in a medieval period, and that really annoyed me. (And she seems to have no problems swearing - did ladies of the time do that?). If it was a gradual change, I might understand, but Melissa is presented as this "feisty modern girl" from the start, and it just did not ring true for me. It rang "Mary Sue".

The book might have been very accurate with regard to details, but to be honest, Melissa's striking modernity prevented me from seeing any of it.

Next, Lestrade. Lestrade was more likable than Melissa, but he was still very flat. The rake who falls in love is a trope, and if your character is that, a bit more needs to be done to bring him to life for me. It got a bit predictable, to be honest.

Oh, and the insta-love. If you've been reading my reviews, you know I'm not a fan of insta-love. There have been a few cases where it sort of works for me, but those are few and this is not one of them. Melissa and Justin have no real chance for proper interaction (I think less than 5?), and how can you fall in love so quickly and deeply after a few conversations? They don't go through experiences together, and that's the main problem for me. There was this moment where I thought Melissa had some recognition of the fact, but then it passed. And while the two may have tried to deny it, denying it then going "but there's something so special about her" is unconvincing. If you're as old as you say you are, why are you acting like that?

Now on to the things I liked.

I quite liked the little I saw of Emily and Katherine. Katherine's mindset felt very realistic to me, and Emma plays the part of the reckless devil-may-care character well. It's possible that I'd get sick of Emma if she appears too much, but I see a lot of potential in Katherine. If only she were the main character.

I liked the background secret. I can't say too much without giving it away, but Justin and his "family"? The way they interacted, how alliances were formed/broken/there was never an alliance, that was cool. If this was the main thing, and the romance a side plot, I would have liked this a lot better.

The "good" parts may have seemed short, but they almost saved the book. Almost. Unfortunately, because of Melissa, i never got into the book. So little odd sentences like
"No puce is a wonderful colour if utilised properly" (Shouldn't it be "No, puce is a wonderful colour if utilised properly"?)

became an irritant to me. They appeared often enough (a couple of times in every chapter) that it tilted the book into two stars territory.

This book had a lot of potential. I liked the background behind Justin and his family, as well as his interactions with them. It's just a pity I didn't like Melissa (and to a lesser extant, Justin), and wasn't even the slightest bit convinced about their relationship.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author via Enchanted Blog Tours in exchange for a free and honest review.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teaser Tuesday - The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo

Hey! How's everyone's week? I somehow got a free day today, and all plans were cancelled, so apart for a trip to the doctor's, I got to spend it studying.



Yay! (Because I really need to study. Test time coming up)

So this week, I'm reading The Murder Room. I got it on a whim when my friend came to visit (bookworm friends = places of interest include second hand bookstores), and decided to pick it up and read it at the doctor's. So far, I'm enjoying it.

My teaser:
"A sadness of the universal concept, not just feeling sad but a condition in which loneliness, mystery, and all the major universals seep into the bones. They often smile and whatever else, but they rarely if ever belly laugh." (page 228)
What is your teaser this week?

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read 
  • Open to a random page 
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page 
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) 
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie

As you may know, I haven't really read the Miss Marple mysteries, because I'm more partial to the Belgian detective. However, this story may have converted me into a Miss Marple fan. (I believe there's a Miss Marple anime. That's one more thing to watch)

Sleeping Murder has Miss Marple subtly guiding Gwenda and Giles, a newlywed that just arrived from Britain. In a remarkable coincidence, Gwenda chooses a house where a murder may have taken place... eighteen years ago. And, the victim was related to her. Gwenda and Gile's curiosity leads them here and there, and into danger.

What I liked about this book was that Miss Marple was so present. It seems like in the other few that I read, she only comes in at the end. Here, she's more active, and I like that. Plus, there was this one scene that reminded me of Poirot. When Miss Marple wanted an excuse to go help Gwenda and Giles, she called her doctor, and got him to recommend a vacation there. Reminds me of the remark in The Clocks (I think that was the title), about obliging doctors that find out where their patients want to go and then recommend that place. Sounds like Poirot and Miss Marple do share some similarities.

I found the mystery really interesting too. I didn't manage to guess the murderer was - especially since the narrator is primarily Gwenda, and so, far off the mark, and I liked the twists and turns.

For me, this was a fairly quick and really enjoyable read. It's also made me a fan of Miss Marple, and that means I'll have to start checking Scribd and the local library to see if they have anymore of her books. Anyone has a favourite Miss Marple book to recommend?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Ugly Stepsister by Aya Ling

I've been trying to figure out what this book reminds me of, and I finally got it. It reminds me of the Taiwanese dramas I used to watch - like Magician of Love, Meteor Garden, It Started With a Kiss, etc. I would be squealing throughout the whole book, occasionally have to stop for a while, but would still watch the next episode. The romance in the book (and the heroine) reminded me exactly of this.

The Ugly Stepsister is a twist on the Cinderella story. Kat, a gangly bookworm, accidentally rips a book and falls into the Cinderella story - as the ugly stepsister! But things are strange - Cinderella has a mother, her sister is a beauty, and Kat might just be falling for the prince (and vice versa). Can she still get a "happily ever after", which will allow her to get back home?

To be honest, I totally saw the romance coming, and at first, I didn't like it. I like the idea of Cinderella ending up with her prince, and I thought it would be more original if Kat selflessly helped Cinderella (she can fall for the Duke or some other guy if she wants, he's another awesome character). But, the romance slowly grew on me, and by the end of the book, I was rooting for the Kat/Prince and Cinderella/her own OTP (not telling, that would be spoiler-ish).

Part of the reason is because the romance between Kat and the Prince was developed well (and because Kat really did her best to give Cinderella her happily ever after). I liked that Kat didn't just concern herself about getting out, but also worked to improve the kingdom, by curtailing child labour. And it's through this that she starts to fall for the prince (and vice versa), which won me over. What can I say, having them bond over a common activity, which improves society, is a very effective way of getting me to support this relationship.

Apart from Kat, the Prince and Cinderella, there's also a cast of supporting characters that I really liked. I think my favourite was Krev, the goblin and Poppy, Kat's new friend. The fairies were... ok, I guess. I liked Krev better, but then again, he was in the story from the start. The step-mother and other step-sister, villains that are real villains.

All in all, this was a really fun read. It was a fun twist on the Cinderella story.

Disclaimer: I got a free copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Unstoppable by Gigi Stetler (Review + Guest Post)

When I first heard about this book, I was instantly intrigued. Since I'm a business student, stories of women succeeding in business, especially in male-dominated fields, are the inspiring boosts that I love reading about. At first, I thought I was going to be reading a part-advice, part-memoir book, but as it turns out, I was wrong.

Unbreakable is a memoir by Gigi Stetler, and she has been through really tough stuff. Her home life has never been good, and every time she becomes close to success, someone betrays her, and she has to start from scratch. I don't know about you, but if that happened to me, I think after two, maybe three times, I'd just give up. But even though Gigi encounters setback after setback, she never gives up.

To be honest, there's very little business-related advice in here. Yes, Gigi does talk about her various ventures, and how she seizes on opportunities, but if you're looking for broad guidelines, well you're out of luck.

Overall, this was a riveting memoir written in a conversational, easy to read style. It's an inspirational read, and a reminder for us not to give up. Today, Gigi has written a guest post on her philosophy, "Work to Learn, Don't Work to Earn". I hope you enjoy it!

Work to Learn, Don’t Work to Earn
By Gigi Stetler

Graduation season in full swing, which means thousands of new grads will be turning in their caps and gowns for suits and ties—if they’re lucky. But whether they have a job lined up or are still on the hunt, my top piece of advice for success: work to LEARN. Don't work to EARN. This way, you can get everything you need to be successful in a business of your own.

As an unfortunate 10th grade dropout I needed to navigate my own path to success, and that did not come easy. But the key ingredient that led me to success was my determination to be successful at any cost.

The first and most important skill I learned at a young age was sales. I learned to sell anything and everything from school candy to time shares, and everything in between. Looking back, it wasn’t how much money I was making that made a difference. It was the experience that I gained from dealing with so many different kinds of people, learning how to satisfy their needs and creating good customer relations skills that I still use today.

Moving into my mid-teens, I jumped into the world of retail, soaking up every bit of knowledge that an entrepreneur needs to be successful. That meant taking a job as a cashier at K-Mart and earning minimum wage. After just a few weeks—and a lot of hours—I found myself filling in shifts in all departments, because other employees weren’t showing up. I wasn’t trying to make this a career for myself, but I knew it was an opportunity to gain experience in the real world, and that’s something you don’t learn at school.

It’s significant to note that when you obtain a degree, you pay thousands of dollars for very little on-the-job experience. Most likely, you still have to intern or work for minimum wage. Whatever your career aspirations, you have to understand that when you start out in the job market, you’re not going to be earning much anyway. But, if you’re smart, you’ll be learning—a lot. Take full advantage of these early years and soak up every piece of knowledge you can find. Get as close as possible to high ranking individuals. Stay late. Ask questions. And most importantly, learn from all the mistakes that others make, so that when you move forward, you’ll know what NOT to do—and how to do it better. It may be difficult, and it may take time, but eventually, you’ll earn from what you’ve learned.  

Gigi Stetler is an accomplished businesswoman, entrepreneur, and single mother. The owner of RV Sales of Broward in south Florida, she built the business from the ground up to become queen of a male-dominated industry and entirely redefine its business climate by establishing an all-new RV timeshare program, the RV Fun Club. As an accomplished equestrian, Stetler has turned her love of horseback riding into a business venture by creating Riding in Style. She has also developed her own all natural supplement line, Solongpain. Stetler continues to rewrite the rules…while writing another book.