Posted in Reviews

Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan

Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Perfect timing for my trip, many ideas went into play! I’m motivated to do all the important things for myself now, so I guess I should capitalize while that lasts. 👍

Recommended: YES!
For anyone who has to talk to people but doesn’t always enjoy it, for insight into the struggles people face who don’t always enjoy talking to people, for a really funny and personal story, or for a thoroughly researched look into how common loneliness is, for those who’ve run out of ideas from The Escape Manual for Introverts and are looking for a new method

Let’s go ahead and make that cake.

What would happen if a shy introvert lived like a gregarious extrovert for one year? If she knowingly and willingly put herself in perilous social situations that she’d normally avoid at all costs? Writer Jessica Pan intends to find out. With the help of various extrovert mentors, Jessica sets up a series of personal challenges (talk to strangers, perform stand-up comedy, host a dinner party, travel alone, make friends on the road, and much, much worse) to explore whether living like an extrovert can teach her lessons that might improve the quality of her life. Chronicling the author’s hilarious and painful year of misadventures, this book explores what happens when one introvert fights her natural tendencies, takes the plunge, and tries (and sometimes fails) to be a little bit braver.

I LOVED IT. That’s probably pretty clear. I loved it from probably page 6, but the true cinching moment was when she started talking about performing for The Moth and that she did a show with David Litt. Guess what I need to go find footage of?

Continue reading “Review: Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come: One Introvert’s Year of Saying Yes by Jessica Pan”
Posted in Release Day!

Just Published: Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks!

Reminder that Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks released today! Check out why I’ve been excited for this release here, and find a Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy!

Then-and-now cover

1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything.
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby.
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent.
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed.
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special.
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary.
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure.
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.

Posted in Reviews

Manga Classics: Pride and Prejudice by Stacy King

Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The adaptation of the text is solid, but a lot is missing in the details since it would be so long to include it all. Comes with the territory, really. Really lovely condensed version of the story though, and the art makes Mr Darcy much more understandable, to read into what you might not see just from text.

Recommended: yup!
For a pared down version of the original story, for illustrations that give depth to small moments that may be missed in the original, for a quicker read of a classic story

Beloved by millions the world over, Pride & Prejudice is delightfully transformed in this bold new manga adaptation. All of the joy, heartache, and romance of Jane Austen’s original, perfectly illuminated by the sumptuous art of manga-ka Po Tse, and faithfully adapted by Stacy E. King. Elizabeth and her sisters are looking for marriage. The balance of love, wealth, and status is hard to find, and they’ll have to work past lies, pride, scoundrels, and ballgowns to find it.

Another wonderful Manga Classics adaptation! I finished Manga Classics: Macbeth and knew I had to look up some of their other works after seeing how excellent that one was. Since Pride and Prejudice is such a lengthy text, they had to adapt it rather than maintaining the full text as with Shakespeare’s. The idea of the story is maintained, and it turns into a quick read of a familiar story, good for if you want the story but also want to give time to other games as well.

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Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast-Forward Friday: Twenty-One Truths About Love

In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I’m using Fast-Forward Friday to drool over books that I’m waiting to come out! One perfect example that I’ve had on my list for a few months now: Twenty-One Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks. Expected Release: November 19, 2019 — coming up soon now!!

Why wait on this one?

  1. This book is written entirely through a series of lists. I adore books written in varied or non-standard formats, and in honor of that I’m giving you the rest of my reasons in a numbered list. ☺
  2. I’ve quite enjoyed Matthew Dicks’ other works, particularly The Perfect Comback of Caroline Jacobs. Coincidentally, that one was also one I was waiting for, though just from the library, not for publish.
  3. Based on the blurb, it seems that at times it may even read a bit like poetry, which would be an interesting addition to the blend. That would end up giving us a novel that reads like prose, like poetry, like a grocery list, like a stream of consciousness….

Plus, LOVE THAT COVER! What reader wouldn’t?

I’m really excited for how much could be done with this. One thing I hope to see would be a list by the title name, written several times throughout the book, and each with a different tone. The first could be early in their marriage, for example, and be extremely lovey and sweet. Later as things get harder, it could be more bitter or frantic, or even crossed out unfinished. And, of course, a final list to bring it all together. I’ll definitely be diving into it ASAP after November 19!

Curious: does the idea of a book entirely of lists drive you crazy, or do you love it too?

Posted in Reviews

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart – ⭐
Had given up on this, but Jk I finished it anyway. Didn’t get better – still left thinking “What? But why?” There seems to be a serious lack of motive established throughout this, that ends up leaving a hole.

Recommended: noooope
Stay away if you want events that have a coherent order, characters with clear (or any) motivation, or a story that’s unique and unpredictable – because the surprise is pretty clearly predictable from early on

If you want a solid one from E. Lockheart, take a look at We Were Liars instead, which I loved!

Pretty colors, at least.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

I almost abandoned this. I even moved it to my “Attempted” shelf. But then I was on the train and had to stand, so this book on my phone was my only reading option for that half hour.

To clarify, I didn’t hate this book, despite it’s one star. I just did not enjoy it, though clearly many do. Though I can appreciate non-linear stories, this one got quite confusing, jumping all over in time and in location, to the point where I really could’t give you a straight placement of events, just a general “before this, after that” or them. This ended up leaving some holes for me, and some questions still unanswered as to why some things were mentioned or happened.

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Posted in Reviews

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

The Farm by Joanne Ramos – ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommended: sure
For a 1984-ish, The Handmaid’s Tale-ish kind of story, for a read that will make you bounce back and forth between whether something is right or wrong until you’re tangled up in knots, for complex evaluations on ways of living and which is better (indignant pride and striving for what you deserve, or gratitude for everything that you have no matter how meager it may seem to others)

They’re pregnant bellies!

Golden Oaks caters to women who need or want a surrogate for their pregnancy – provided they can pay the exorbitant price. In a facility with every amenity, secretively selected women can sign on to be monitored and controlled through their 9 months of pregnancy. The promise of Golden Oaks to its clients is to deliver a perfect baby, given every advantage starting from pre-conception; its promise to its Hosts is a pile of money, more than most could dream of. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines and a struggling single mother, is thrilled to make it through the highly competitive Host selection process at the Farm. But now pregnant, fragile, consumed with worry for her own young daughter’s well-being, Jane grows desperate to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on delivery—or worse.

The surface story within this didn’t compel me as much as the struggle to figure out who was correct in their view of Golden Oaks and their services. I don’t think I ever came up with a clear answer, but it made me consider some important questions and challenge some of my own beliefs, so that in itself made me keep reading.

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Posted in Cover Roulette

Cover Roulette: Throne of Glass

I did my first cover roulette post a little while ago for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and it was so fun I wanted to do another! Luckily I found another popular series that has had many different editions made, and I wondered…

What other awesome covers have I missed?

Tonight’s featured book is Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas, in homage to one of my favorite young adult fantasy series’ ever. Every book that’s come out has blown me away, and I’m putting off reading the last book because I don’t want it to end. For now, let’s take it back to the beginning and check out some alternate covers.

The Cover I Know

If this doesn’t scream “magic elvish assassin princess” I don’t know what does. It also definitely screams “READ ME, I’M AMAZING” ♥

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Posted in Reviews

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick

Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Very well done look at North Korea, thanks to those who were willing to relive the best and worst details of their lives to share with the world.

Recommended: ABSOLUTELY
For those who know nothing about North Korea, for those who know a boatload about North Korea, for a fantastic history of the country (and the whole peninsula, really), for moving stories of the people who grew up there, for an incredibly comprehensive and personal set of biographies

Masterful, truly.

Nothing to Envy follows the lives of six North Koreans over fifteen years—a chaotic period that saw the death of Kim Il-sung, the unchallenged rise to power of his son Kim Jong-il, and the devastation of a far-ranging famine that killed one-fifth of the population. Demick takes us deep inside the country, beyond the reach of government censors. Through meticulous and sensitive reporting, we see her six subjects—average North Korean citizens—fall in love, raise families, nurture ambitions, and struggle for survival. One by one, we experience the moments when they realize that their government has betrayed them.

Oh, wow. So I am not a beginner in learning about North Korea, but this book was a whole new style of writing about it that I deeply appreciated and was seriously impressed by. Although these are true stories of people who grew up in North Korea before making their way out of North Korea, it most often read like a novel.

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Posted in Reviews

Little Girls by Nicholas Aflleje

Little Girls by Nicholas Aflleje -⭐⭐
I have a lot of questions, and not in a good way. Seems like the end assumed I knew things that had never been mentioned before. Found myself thinking wait, what? a lot.

Recommended: not really
nothing terribly unique to hold me, and if it hadn’t been such a short read I’m sure I would have put it down midway.

Cover of Little Girls by Nicholas Aflleje
Better than the title makes it seem, but not by much

Sam has no friends in her new town in Ethiopia, so when Lielet asks her to help with a plot, it’s fairly easy to persuade Sam to go along. With a plan to disprove the brain-eating monster rumored to be responsible for deaths around town – deaths of animal and human alike – Sam and Lielet set out into the savanna. They aren’t the only ones looking to face this monster, though, and the two girls stumble into an all-out war.

The art: there were some clever moments with the art, where the picture carried the story, and it made me pay more attention to each panel and really think about what I was supposed to get from them.

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Posted in Reviews

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Release Date: January 14, 2020

A+ mystery, F romance, and one huge plot hole that I’m willing to ignore because the rest was so good.

Recommended: yup!
For fans of dual narrative, for fans of social-intrigue kind of mysteries, for a well-done blend of then-and-now storylines that weave together. Must be able to suspend disbelief for one serious plot hole, and be aware the romance is weakly developed.

Then-and-now cover

2018: Morgan Christopher is delivered a bizarre twist of fate when she’s offered an escape from her wrongful prison sentence. With her incomplete art degree, she must restore an old mural with a tight timeline. As she rushes to uncover the mural, she learns of the artist’s descent into madness.

1940: Anna Dale desperately accepts the job states away from her own hometown. With prejudices and secrets thriving under the glamour of Southern charm, more lines are crossed than just the Mason-Dixon. This mural will steal her peace, and possibly her life.

The feeling of doom that hung over this was critical in its success. You don’t know what happened to Anna, but you have a feeling the answer is nothing good. Without that foreknowledge of her insanity, the first half of this book would read as though nothing was really happening. For some, that may still be the case, but trust me: once you’re about halfway, events start happening quite quickly and with significant urgency.

Continue reading “Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain”