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Cynically Sweet (Booklikes)

I'm not the most active user here on Booklikes. In fact, sometimes I forget that it even exists. However, I endeavor to come back and post more stuff that I enjoy.

My reviews aren't guaranteed to be something you agree with and my perspective on books isn't something most people generally want. However, I still hope that there's something you can gain from them and you don't feel as if you've wasted your time reading them.


Don't just take my word for it; read the books yourself and form your own opinion!

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Black Swan: Who Am I?

Black Swan: Who Am I? - Diann Maree Black Swan: Who Am I? is a book about the self awakening of Diann Maree. Covering six weeks, Black Swan is a series of journey entries and reflections as she makes a transformation. Following a seminar, she takes on a new outlook to life, finding new ways to deal with her experiences and life.

Despite being about the author's inspirational and spiritual moments, it's not really an inspirational or spiritual book to me, in my opinion. It's more the documentation of what the author goes through, rather than trying to help the reader to a similar stage of their own lives. That is, unless you feel like attending one of the seminars of this Van person. Mind you, I don't necessarily think you'll have such an awakening in your own life. It's not really explained completely as to what this seminar is, except that it has to do with stocks and investments. Later that night, the author wakes and is instructed to deliver a message. However, when she makes the phone call to the person, she has no idea what the message is.

I can't help being sceptical about this book, despite being a reasonably spiritual person, because a lot of it reads like an advertisement for the Van and Libby seminar/ course. She thanks them multiple times throughout the book. A lot of the entries mention work with partners and what's essentially homework (she mentions writing up reviews and doing questionnaires / responses to various things). However, we don't get much information as to what these tasks are. This is a bit bothersome because she finds certain inspirations from them and it causes a lot of thought to her. Yet, obviously this is a loss for the reader because we don't know what has caused these "a-ha!" moments or insights. I'd also like to take this moment to make a point. It's very based on this seminar, held by Van and Libby (plus the 28 day TFM course). This is the primary reason that the author has had these spiritual insights, her inner guide even encouraging her to further communicating with the pair. It's not just a mental thing, either; she writes of the burning feeling in her third eye and the heightened senses (she discusses being more aware of smells for a stage).

Also, I think some of the messages get a bit convoluted; for example, she mentions being a more loving person. Though, personally, I don't see scenes supporting that (though I'm not denying that she might be). However, it just doesn't seem that way (but that could be due to missing information). One memory she writes about (on pages 34-36, though it might be different in other editions) is that she goes checking waters with someone (though she didn't really explain who he was). At one point, he begins to skinny dip, she's ashamed and threatens to leave him walking home (they were in a utility vehicle). After this point, on another event, he mentions marriage to her (that her parents think they would be good together). However, for some reason she's upset about this and threatens him with a pitch fork. She mentions that she feels negatively about this person, but I can't help but find that it is she being the negative one instead; making threats in both of these examples, rather than talking her feelings out. He was wanting a little bit of fun with the skinny dipping and he was kind of proposing the idea of marriage. I'd like to point out that she, with the pitchfork, threatens to do bodily harm. I think there's a lot missing and that some of these revelations cause me to look upon the author with a negative light.

It's an alright book. However, as mentioned, I feel like there's a lot of information that I'm just not getting. I don't think that many of these things are very spiritual, either. I think it's just odd events (coincidences, new experiences, etc) that the author chooses to take in a new light. They might still have happened, had she not attended this seminar and/or had that spiritual experience, but her new information provides her with a different outlook of it. I think the message that has been clear to me throughout the book is that, if you want to find some level of spirituality, attend a seminar about stocks/ investing, make odd phone calls at weird times (bonus points if you have someone come to your door at an strange hour, questioning your pizza ordering habits). If you're looking for a book guiding you to spirituality, this won't be as helpful as you might think; it relies on coincidence and it's unlikely that readers will have the same experiences as the author. Apart from those faults, it's not a terrible book, but I think it still needs a lot more information to make some bits understandable.

I won a copy of this book via a First Reads giveaway and these are just my honest thoughts on it.