Category Archives: Book Reviews

Wishful Drinking Review

I liked Carrie Fisher, I’ve met her by accident and didn’t realize who she was (and her little dog too). Hearing the news of her passing this past December was hard and having a Disney Infinity figure of princess Leia and a Funko Pop figure of General Leia just made me feel sad knowing I’ll never accidentally meet her again seeing as she’s now in a beautiful Prozac pill in the sky.

However this didn’t mean I couldn’t celebrate her life beyond Star Wars and that weird hairdo, so I bought some of her books and just finished reading the hilariously wonderful, Wishful Drinking.

It’s kind of hard to spoil real life.

I loved this book, at first I was scared I was going to be depressed and shocked at the possibility of the darker parts of Carrie Fisher’s life since no one has the perfect life and we all have our own demons to face. And she did have her own demons to face, and she faced them, and as of the publishing of Wishful Drinking (I still need to read The Princess Diarist) she called up her inner demons and they had something to drink and what not every other week.

Hearing about her life as the daughter of two celebrities, knowing how “celebrity life” was like back during the time of her adolescence and teenage years during that time era was interesting. Reading some of Carrie’s experiences in life was interesting and funny. Normally I would go into detail of certain events in a book or movie, but I really don’t want to with Wishful Drinking because I feel they really do have to be read to believe.

The book felt more like sitting down and listening to an older friend (lets say one friend being a baby boomer and yourself being a millennial)  tell you a story. Carrie does talk about drug usage and takes a few loving jabs at Star Wars. I will never know Carrie Fisher beyond our very brief meeting that she probably wouldn’t recall anyways. But reading this book felt like I got to know her a little better and makes me hope that if I must become old, I can be similar to Carrie where I can laugh at the sad and scary parts of my life and joke about drug usage (I haven’t ever used drugs) and depression/anxiety (oh boy those two…).

Finally the main thing I have taken from Wishful Drinking is this; as long as you can laugh at/about your hardships later in life, you’re going to be just fine. There will be alot of bumps and scary parts (look at what happened in London within less than a month as of June 2017!) But anything short of sudden mass extinction via nuclear blasts and having communism take over your country is only temporary.

I will end this review with a beautiful quote that I found in this book at the end.

One of the things that baffles me (and there are a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of duty in Afganistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. 

 

Why Not Me Review

Today we are reviewing Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. I am a big fan of Mindy Kaling as many of you know and I honestly put little to no effort in fighting back against my own rule I set for myself on my book ban until I read ten of the books on my “to read” list. I really liked this book, getting another taste of Mindy Kaling is always a nice thing, you know it, I know it, and Hulu especially knows it!

Hey look bold text, normally that means there’s spoilers ahead, but the joke is on you, you can’t spoil real life.

This book we catch up with Mindy’s life and what she’s been up to since her last book. We get a closer look on her life pre-The Office fame, some last few thoughts on weddings and friendships, and the one thing that led me to her existence. THE MINDY PROJECT! Oh and some nonsense about meeting former president Obama and having a minor fling with someone who works for him.

I’ll be honest and say the main thing I cared about in this book is how she described her life in The Mindy Project; how she got the show on FOX in the first place when NBC didn’t want to give her a pity show after The Office ended, how she had anxiety writing and producing her own show, the horrors of her tv show being cancelled by Fox, and how Hulu saved her show from a horrible fate.

I will admit I was a little disappointed with this book since I was so happy with her previous work. As previously stated I was happy with the background information on The Mindy Project, but other than that the book may fall into “chick lit” for some.

There were two main points of the book that were close to me; Mindy’s mother and her life advice to Mindy. Prior to reading this book I was under the assumption both of Mindy’s parents were still alive and watched The Mindy Project and have a good laugh at their daughter. Sadly Mindy’s mother passed away prior to the premier of TMP, and reading about the kind of woman, doctor, and parent she was made an impact on me. From things like knowing who was a good friend and who were false friends, to removing trophies because “they were given to be nice, not earned”. Even knowing that she managed to give advice to The Mindy Project before passing away is heartwarming.

Then there’s Mindy talking about body image and self confidence. How it’s impossible to love your body, but also knowing to be happy regardless of how you look naked. Finally there was a lovely essay at the end of the novel concerning having self confidence that was really nice.

I give Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling three and a half mcdonalds Mcflurries.

Wires and Nerve Review

Just when you thought you were done with The Lunar Chronicles, you were wrong. Granted I don’t think anyone thought things were done with The Lunar Chronicles, but things seemed to be fairly wrapped up. With the announcement of the graphic novel Wires and Nerve surrounding the character Iko I was under the impression it was a retelling through Iko’s perspective, I was slightly wrong.

Minor spoilers from this point onward.

Wires and Nerve functions as a continuation to The Lunar Chronicles showing the current lives of Cinder and her friends and aside from Cinder and company trying to tie up loose ends, things are more or less happy. We have Cress and Thorne travelling the world providing vaccinations for Letumosis and sight seeing, Scarlet and Wolfe living a happy quiet life in France, Winter acting as ambassador for Luna, Kai is working on convincing citizens to consider an operation to help resist the influences of The Lunar Gift, and Cinder is trying to convince the citizens of Luna that they do not need a monarchy to continue functioning.

The book’s main focus is Iko and her mission to hunt down the remaining Lunar soldiers on Earth to bring them to justice. However things are more complicated as they appear; with the army of Lunar soldiers on earth feeling Cinder is the same of Levana and would just have them return to their previous way of life.

The graphic novel is well paced and the story is very good, however the artwork of Doug Holgate did put me off at first. As I continued the story along I accepted this was the artstyle chosen for the graphic novel and decided to just go along with it since the story was really good anyways.

My only complaint is, it’s to be continued, like what the hell? I give Wires and Nerve four out of five fancy crowns.

Is Everyone Hanging Our Without Me (and other concerns) Review

Last October I had the opportunity to meet Mindy Kaling and get a book signed by her; sadly this opportunity was destroyed by my friend Sam and I not realizing that other people are huge fans of Mindy Kaling, that and I had some anxiety issues kick in and some other annoying complicated shit that kept me from meeting Mindy at Texas Teen Book Festival 2016 (don’t worry, this is the last time you’ll probably hear of Texas Teen Book Festival 2016 on this blog).

We got to hear a live conversation with Mindy, sadly I did not get to ask my question about how old Mindy was when she lost her Anne Rice virginity (I was 19 when that happened btw). I decided to buy her book anyways despite these two setbacks. I had discovered Mindy Kaling through the television (now Hulu exclusive) show The Mindy Project. It is one of my favorite tv shows and when I heard I might meet Mindy I was happy. For now I have to settle for seeing her in the distance and that I have probably breathed in air she farted in.

Upon realizing how big my list of books to read is I figured I should read ten of these books before purchasing more books, so I grabbed Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and started reading.

Hey there are no spoilers, it’s kind of hard to spoil a story of real life considering Mindy Kaling has a really funny tv show. I just really like typing out these warnings in bold font to be honest.

I was partially convinced that this would be another piece dealing with race, gender, and family struggles because sadly that is what is expected with minorities. I was wrong! Within a few pages I was literally laughing out loud at what Mindy had to say to the individual who purchased her book.

The book is semi autobiographical, but it felt more like a conversation with Mindy; Mindy does touch upon authentic friendships and how some friendships in life die even though we don’t want them too. There is mention of assholes that will be present in life, struggling with post college life and “making it” as a writer for tv and as an actress, and other things present in life.

I thought it was kind of cool that Mindy is a little nutty in her book and that being plus sized isn’t a big deal to her. As predicted Mindy is someone very relocatable to (to a scary degree with me on everything except that I don’t think Will Ferrell movies are funny). My only complaint is that she did spend a lot of time talking about The Office and I’ve never watched The Office, so it’s more of a problem I have rather than the book has.

I give Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (and other concerns) three and a half cupcakes out of five. btw who ate half my cupcake!

Six of Crows Review

Things will be a little different for this review; for the first time I have listened to a story rather than reading it. In an effort to try to read all of Six of Crows before my friend and I could go to Texas Teen Book Festival I purchased the audiobook of Six of Crows. I must say it was an interesting experience.

At first I had thought I could listen to the book while doing schoolwork, but I realized that was not the case with how my mind works in terms of concentration and stories. I did find that listening to the book while cleaning, walking, and waiting was a more enjoyable experience rather than listening and doing work.

The act of listening to a story was a little hard to get use to, especially considering how thick the book is, I actually appreciated that multiple narrators were used for the story rather than relying on one narrator, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of them had background as voice actors in anime at some points. I will admit it was a little more difficult to retain what I listened to and felt things came along far more easily halfway through the story when I started reading the hardcopy book while listening to the story.

Now for the Actual Book Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect when my friend lent me her copy of Six of Crows, all I recall is that she asked me to take a photo of it alongside some lgbt books I had. At the time I took the photo my head was in a whirlwind of life concerns and a week later I wondered what was in the book that it had to have a photo taken alongside my lgbt books.

I was very pleased with the story; I had never really read a heist type of story, especially one like this with nearly all the protagonists ready to kill with only a few of them with actual heroic qualities (Matthias, Inej, Nina) and our primary protagonist Kaz being far from a hero. There’s also Jesper a gambling addict and Wylin who is the only protagonist not to get his own point of view chapter.

There are many moments of cross and doublecross between the protagonists as they are all hired to kidnap a scientist behind a powerful drug that can turn gifted people known as Grisha into nearly unstoppable forces and become addicted to the drug known as parem. The book is a nice relief of uniqueness in the YA I’ve read recently with many high points and my particular favorite character being Nina the Grisha.

My only regret is not being in the best mood when I met the author Leigh Bardugo at the Texas Teen Book Festival as I got her to autograph the copy I purchased for a friend of mine. Unfortunately waiting in lines constantly brought out the worst in me and if you ever read this Leigh Bardugo, I really am sorry for my attitude and please forgive me for not being happy that you took the time to speak with your fans about your book and what they loved about it. Sam I am sorry for bitching half the time while waiting in line.

I give Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Six knives named after saints out of Six.

Star Wars Ahsoka Review

20161017_170720I haven’t kept it a secret that Ahsoka Tano is my favorite character from the Star Wars universe going from annoying token kid character inserted into Clone Wars to appeal to kids, to broken hero, to rebel alliance merger, and beyond. I was excited to discover that my favorite character would be getting her own YA novel this year and was ecstatic to discover I’d have the opportunity to meet the author at Texas Teen Book Festival earlier this month.

I made E.K. Johnston fangirl over a drawing I did of Ahsoka Tano that day and in a complete surprise of kindness she gave me a custom name tag and signed it to me for when I purchased my own copy of the Ahsoka YA book (we both went into bigger fan mode when she told me Ashley Eckstein would be joining her on tour with book signings for the Ahsoka book).

Spoilers from this point on, no I can’t Jedi Mind trick these out of your head.

Ahsoka takes place exactly one year after the events of Order 66 and Empire Day with Ahsoka laying low and trying to live her life as a civilian as opposed to a soldier or Jedi she once was. The aftershock from the betrayal of her friend Barriss Offee still close to Ahsoka’s heart despite Ahsoka participation in the the liberation of Mandalore (for more info on that click here).

The book focuses on Ahsoka’s attempts at helping people fight the empire while addressing her own mixed feelings about being a child soldier in the Clone Wars and having the knowledge that nearly all of her loved ones are dead.

Ahsoka spends a good portion of the book trying to put an end to the military mindset she had during the Clone Wars and trying to remember what was taught to her before the war started. I thought this was an interesting approach brought up in the book since it was a conversation Ahsoka and Barriss had in the early days of the war where Ahsoka wasn’t sure what her life would be like post war and Barriss was under the impression the Jedi would return to a life of peace and meditation.

The book also shows just how Ahsoka got her position as Fulcrum in the rebellion and where she got her white lightsabers. I won’t spoil where she found the kyber crystals and what led to their creation, but I feel it’s very fitting for this portion of Ahsoka’s character arc and life. I was also very pleased to see the topic of Barriss Offee addressed and that it didn’t take up the entire book. It was a topic that I had wondered about for a while and glad to see how Ahsoka recovered from it and became stronger because of the events that caused her to leave the Jedi order.

I think many fans of Ahsoka Tano and Star Wars will enjoy this book very much, E.K. Johnston did a great job of tying the bridge between the Clone Wars tv series and the current Star Wars Rebels series and did justice to such a beloved character.

I give Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston five white lightsabers out of five.

Thoughts on The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren

Last weekend my friend invited me to go to the Texas Teen Book Festival, at first I was reluctant to go because I had heard book con was more of a marketing type of event and that it applied to all book related conventions. My attitude changed when I saw that the author of the soon to be released Ahsoka book by E.K. Johnston would be there and I became giddy discovering Mindy Kaling would be there as well. Sadly I did not get an autograph from Mindy Kaling or to even ask my question and give her a drawing I did of her high fiving her animated counterpart Disgust from the movie Inside Out. On a side note, I got E.K. Johnston to fangirl with a drawing of Ahsoka Tano and in return she gave me a sticker to place on my copy of the Ahsoka book coming out October Eleventh. I’m buying each edition.

This isn’t about meeting super famous celebrities or making authors fangirl though; today I’m reviewing the lgbt book The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren by Cody Wagner. I encountered this book partially by chance and partially by a failed attempt at flirting. I discovered the book when I saw a man wearing a tshirt with a pikachu cosplaying as Harry Potter and I thought That is such a cute shirt, holy crap someone taller than me! I must take a photo with him! Upon approaching Cody Wagner he was very sweet and we had a small quick conversation and he told me about his book The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren.

I knew I had to have it because 1. I am a member of the lgbt community and 2. it sounded like the type of story I felt was missing from lgbt stories. Also there were lots of hugs between us (like seriously none of you have no idea what it’s like to be taller than most of your friends and meet someone taller than you).

Possible Spoilers concerning The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, I will try to provide as few spoilers as possible.

I will admit I didn’t like the start of the book because it is a coming out story gone horribly wrong. I have nothing against coming out stories, I’ve just read and seen alot of them. As soon as our protagonist Blaize gets to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy the story actually takes off. I was also happy to see that only the start of the book had gayngst.

Much to mine and the character’s surprises the boarding school is far from the ‘pray the gay away’ type of story I was expecting, and most of the mental complaints I had about the characters made sense by the end of the book (these ARE teenagers after all..)

I was actually very happy to see how the story played out and how both sexuality and the main antagonist was more background noise than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, homosexuality is a big deal in the book, but aside from the beginning none of the characters make a big deal about being gay. They are normal teenagers who do normal teenage things and deal with normal teenage issues like peer pressure and bullying.

I was actually very happy the topic of bullying was approached in the book and that sadly no matter what school you are going to it is there and sadly kids and teens don’t take it as seriously as they should. However I do like how the protagonists handle this issue and rather than approaching said bullies in a confrontational way they take the higher road and are the better person.

Also to my relief and shock the topic of romance doesn’t come up too often and things I expected didn’t happen, to which I am very pleased. Cody Wagner did a very good job of keeping surprises as subtle as possible.

I highly encourage reading The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren, you can buy it Here. Do it, right now!

I give the Gay Teen’s Guide Guide to Defeating a Siren five Healing Hamburgers out of five.

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Nine years after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows JK Rowling (and two other muggles) bring us one new and last story for Harry and his family in the form of theatrical play…but not everyone has the money to go to England to see a play. So for the rest of the fans we have the script of the play to enjoy.

Spoilers from this point on, if you or someone you know can perform a memory charm you’re welcomed to read them.

We have the adventures of Albus Potter after nine years of open ended thinking our canon is changed. I never gave it any thought what did happen outside of “Albus is probably in Slytherin and will be the new Molfoy’s BFF” and that’s what happened.

We see something not everyone probably thought of, the struggle of this friendship and how the actions of their fathers affected their current life. In Albus’ case, being sorted into Slytherin has made Albus the blacksheep of the family. Meanwhile Scorpius is hated by his peers because of how much of a jerk his father was to everyone growing up.

While reading the book I was led to believe that Scorpius is gay and in love with Albus. No it’s not me caving into the Harry/Draco ship, but there are passages that to me showed Scorpius cared more for Albus beyond friendship. Yes Scorpius asks Rose out near the end of the book, but she’s probably just a beard. I don’t think Albus is gay, but there is one passae showing Albus longing for Scorpius.

That’s enough about relationships though, I need to talk about the actual story itself. I felt like I was reading a Doctor Who story with all the time traveling and future changing present. To the point where the suggestion that bringing Cedric Diggory back to life resulted in me yelling “it’s a fixed point in time!”

It was interesting to see what affects a time turner could have on the future when used for the wrong reason. We also see something no one expected; the child of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lesrange. She’s just as nutty as you would expect.

Harry Potter and the cursed was a nice return to the world of Harry Potter, however some fans will be disjointed at the lack of magic, younger fans may be turned off with themes of depression being present in the book . The book being in the format of a play may be a turn off to some fans.

I give Harry Potter and the Cursed Child four exploding pumpkin pastries out of five.

Shifting Genres

There is a humorous show on YouTube called FiftyShadesofGreen/BoozeYourOwnAdventure where I learned quite a bit more about the writing and publishing world than I expected to hear from a video sharing website. I also learned quite a bit about my own reading habits, so today we are going to talk about how sometimes it’s good to shift genres among books.

Signs You Need to Shift

There’s nothing wrong with reading YA, I’ve been reading it since I was eleven and now I’m getting ready to start pushing thirty. However I do have periods of “I’m bored with this,” the first time this happened was the summer of 2013 where I decided I’d read Divergent based off the suggestion that “it’s like The Hunger Games” and that was the problem, it’s like The Hunger Games. I had read dystopian novels such as the Uglies series, The Hunger Games, 1984, Logan’s Run, and some of the Ender’s Game series (until I discovered Orson Scott Card is a hypocrite concerning religion and a homophobic jerk).

I began to just predict things like who our main female protagonist will fall for, who she unwillingly/unknowingly betray, who she loves dearly will be killed, what happens to her family, how her decision alone turned the whole fictional universe on it’s head, etc. It wasn’t with the dystopia genre, it was also with the paranormal genre (we DID have countless Twilight clones for a while), and while I did fully enjoy some of them (the first half of Beastly and Bewitching by Alex Flinn are actually pretty good).

I’m not saying you need to abandon the genre completely, another example was when I started reading The Lunar Chronicles and discovered I liked it alot and things weren’t so predictable (I caught on to what was happening when I discovered Merissa Meyer is quite the Sailor Moon fangirl,) and it was a nice breather from the books I’ve mentioned above and I plan to reread it when I get the opportunity.

I’m also not saying you constantly need to be switching things up, but if one finds themselves bored with reading and have the following symptoms along with it, then you may want to consider something new.

Well Then What do you Mean Shift?

I mean take a break, read something new, shortly after finishing Cress I didn’t know what to read, my friend constantly told me to read The Fault in Our Stars and after three months of nagging, I read it. I actually enjoyed it; despite the subject matter of the book it is very light hearted and brought up new views. Same couldn’t be said for John Green’s other books when I read them, but I did enjoy the shift of genre.

Recently I’ve been reading books from the Doctor Who and Star Wars franchises, mainly because I wanted to discover the fate of Asajj Ventress and because I really like Doctor Who. I’m currently reading two books, Dorothy Must Die and I just started the Longmire series because my dad is a fan.

It’s very relieving to switch between the two books. If I’m not feeling it with one universe, I jump to the other. A third book may be thrown in just incase though.

This is alot shorter than your usual ranting

It’s not a rant, rather a suggestion for people who suffer from what I suffer from at times. It can be applied to tv and music too.

 

Thoughts on The Lunar Chronicles: Winter

WINTER IS HERE! And has been here since November, and yes it’s been two months since I finished winter, but once again higher education takes higher priority than this little blog I do.

Before I get to the spoilers let me say that I was heavily satisfied with the book, the pacing was very well done with an equal amount of screen time dedicated to each protagonist and chapters ending on deadly cliffhangers for each character making me frequently have mini heart attacks one of my favorite characters may die. Now then onto the spoilers.

Spoilers from this if you do not wish to be spoiled do not read beyond this bold text.

First, EVERYONE LIVES YAY! And although my horrible fear of Iko dying or something horrible happening to Cress, or any of the other main protagonists did not happen, this may be a flaw, but I will get to that later.

As I said earlier the pacing between each character was very well done this time, we even got new characters Winter and Jacin enough development to fully flesh out they were and what their motives are in this science fiction adaption of Snow White (also bonus points for making Scarlet the Ruby Red to Winter’s Snow White).

Winter would be a near Mary Sue character for being not only the perfection of beauty both body and soul, but being skilled in not only crafts, but also restoring a home (no really, she rebuilding a house for about two weeks), the thing that keeps her from being a Mary Sue though is the fact that she’s slowly going insane from not using her Lunar Gift and these arts and crafts she does keep her mind occupied thinly preserving her sanity. She’s also resourceful, a little insane in her war strategies, but resourceful. Jacin is a combination of Prince Charming and the Huntsman from the Snow White tale.

We also meet Wolf’s mother, as one would expect she lives long enough to meet Scarlet and dies violently and tragically as any other kind mother would in any other YA book.

As I said earlier each chapter ends with a dramatic cliffhanger for each character giving us the thought that literally any of our protagonists can die with Cress, Cinder, and Iko having the largest amount of cliffhangers that could have lead to their demise.

Unfortunately although I am happy everyone made it out alive (granted they are beaten down pretty bad physically by the end of the novel), that is the primary problem I have with Winter. There is a lot of build up that there will be sacrifices, loved ones will die, ships will be destroyed by death and killing and that there will indeed be consequences for the actions of Cinder and her friends would have to face that just doesn’t happen. Excluding the entire city of Lunar refugees and those killed during the lunar civil war we only have about six named protagonists die.

I give The Lunar Chronicles Winter four and a half lunar apple flavored candies out of five.