Book Review – Work Song by Danielle Allen

Book Review
By: Nicole Howard

My Mini Summary: Realistic fiction meets romance and with an accent of GIRL POWER! 

Author: Danielle Allen
Publisher:  E by M

I have read and reviewed almost all of the books Danielle Allen has written. Work Song is her latest release and she has found a way to do something a little different than what I’m used to from her.

Work Song addresses a few topics that could be great conversation starters for book club discussions including family dynamics, body image shaming, and work relationships. The one that stood out the most was being a woman in a male-dominated field. It is not uncommon for women to grow up watching sports and being as knowledgeable about them as men. However, doing this socially and professionally is a different story. In Work Song, the protagonist, Tatiana Green is serious about pursuing a career as a sports journalist but she also publishes writing about fashion. She gets the opportunity to meet the ESPN’s head writer and she uses the pseudonym Pat Daniels instead of Patti Daniels. The question is if this is misleading because it’s a neutral name that would most likely be seen as a man when in a sports publication. Patricia addresses this question for Tatiana when they met during an extravagant work event. This brief moment becomes a game changer for Tatiana later in the book. It reminds me of a recent feature guide in O, The Oprah Magazine about being your truest self where Ada Calhoun tells her story about using a pseudonym.

(See page 122 in the November issue. The article is Call Me What You Will – Ada Calhoun).

Does using a pseudonym make you less authentic? J.K. Rowling (author of the Harry Potter Series) used one instead of her full name because her publisher didn’t think a woman’s name would appeal to the male young reader audience (Bio here).

Will Tatiana continue to pursue this dream even though it’s not a common field for women? If so, will she be successful or quit?

(Read this featured post from Tatiana Green)

The speed of her books usually read like a romance meets a suspense mystery. You can’t put the book down until you figure it out. The speed of Work Song is a little slower with fewer flashbacks and twist and turns BUT Allen still delivers the “OMG” moment. Since the speed is slower you are caught completely off guard. This surprise made me want to smile with pride as if Tatiana was my friend or even me. The best part is realizing she alluded to it and if you don’t pay attention you may miss it. One trait I enjoy about her books is the realism for a work of fiction. I can imagine the whole book as it plays out in my mind. (I think someone has a future as a TV drama writer somebody call Shonda!)

Check out my interview with the author here. 

Now for the romance, Tatiana doesn’t have the best relationship history. Her ex-boyfriend’s words continued to haunt her that she was not capable of loving someone, in other words, she’s selfish. The reader is casually introduced to the love interest who she works for the same company, Sports Central and they only communicate through e-mail. There is no pressure for her because they have never met. So they learn about each other through these exchanges and share their love of movies all without speaking or meeting in person. Pretty much the original possibility of a “catfish” situation without relationship apps like Tinder and OK Cupid. It’s all fun and games until her “work best friend”, Wesley Barnes, accepts the opportunity to relocate to work in her office. Just the thought of having to see him every day raises intense fear especially since one of her close girlfriends had a negative work relationship experience.

She continues to deny that she can fall for this man because she has to remain a professional in the workplace. Once he arrives they spend time together and even as she begins to stop denying that she is developing feelings she fights it and him the whole way. Eventually, she has to choose between finally removing the false claim that she can’t love someone and the career opportunity of a lifetime. It is clear she is not supposed to have both. Danielle Allen finds a way to bring up so many relevant life topics in less than 400 pages that will make you stop and think can YOU have it all?


Find it on Goodreads:

Find it on Amazon:

When society tries to put you in a box, knock the walls down. –Tati Green

“You have a pretty face” is such a back-handed compliment. It’s like telling me that my face is beautiful, but the rest of me is not.

Despite what society says, my curves are hot. My love life, on the other hand, is not.

My mom says I’ll never find love because of my weight.
My sister says I’ll never find love because of my personality.
My almost-fiancé says I’ll never find love because I’m incapable of loving anyone.

My mom and sister are full of it, but my ex kind of has a point.

At twenty-seven years old, I’ve never been in love. I date a lot, yet sparks never fly. But when I experienced the heart-pounding, skin tingling feeling for the first time, I didn’t think it would be caused by a guy I’ve never met. And I damn sure didn’t think he would end up holding my future in his hands in more ways than one.

Book Review – Big Magic By Elizabeth Gilbert

Book Review
By: Nicole Howard

My Mini Summary: When you think being a creative person is no longer worth it when you’re frustrated with what you once loved to do. Read Big Magic to help you find your way.

Title: Big Magic
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Pages: 288
Publisher: Riverhead Books

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Ted Talks about being creative and a writer have always been my go to when I want to doubt my goal of becoming an author. I also saw Elizabeth Gilbert speak during Oprah’s Life You Want Tour in Washington, DC. While reading Big Magic, I felt like I could hear her voice. It was as if I was having lunch with a  writer friend. For those who are advanced in their “creative” careers, I’m not sure if they will see anything new or inspiring. For me, I had a few ah-ha moments

Check out Elizabeth Gilbert on the NEW Season of Super Soul

Fear is boring! What an easy way to remember to be fearless. A reminder that when you live in fear you miss out on experiences that can teach you something new. Gilbert points out why we are fearful and how to get over those feelings. Another big point was to be curious this is where the magic happens. The best part about this book is the honesty. Gilbert doesn’t make her story of being a best-selling author as something of mere magic but continuing to do what she loves daily. To sit down and write even when there isn’t exactly something to say. To pursue the small questions that may lead to the big magic moments like how she came to writing the Signature of All Things. For me this is an exchange of letters to a writing friend to say keep going, don’t quit now, if it’s what you love, love it back.

For more check out her podcast Magic Lessons.

Read more book reviews here.


From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

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Question for the bookworms!

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August Book Challenge – Day 7 – Published in 2015

Day 7 – Published in 2015 

August Book Challenge – Day 6 – Fast Paced

Day 6 – Fast Paced 


*I do not own the book cover image.

August Book Challenge – Day 5 – Did Not Finish

Day 5 – Did Not Finish 

August Book Challenge – Day 4 – Favorite Quote

Day 4 – Favorite Quote 

August Book Challenge – Day 1 – AugustTBR

Here we go! 

Day 1 – AugustTBR (To Be Read).

August Book Challenge is HERE!

My first book challenge is over and I’m ready to try again #celinereadsaugust15. Check out my instagram page to see my posts from the July challenge.