Posted in Reviews

Review: Nothing But The Truth by Holly James

Nothing But the Truth by Holly James

Recommended: yes!!
for chick lit Liar Liar, for a story about honesty with yourself and others, for a 100% feel good journey with some laughs as well

Summary

It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….

When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.

When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.

Thoughts

WHY DIDN’T ANYONE BILL THIS BOOK AS A CHICK-LIT VERSION OF LIAR LIAR??? I was already excited to read it but when I realized about 15% in that it was a “can’t tell a lie because of a birthday wish” story I was practically vibrating with delight! Add in the finding yourself and feminist angles and wow this book was fab, y’all. I don’t think there’s a single thing in this book that I disliked, and thinking that is so startling that I actually bumped the rating because if there’s nothing I would change then it’s ABSOLUTELY five stars, right?

Alright. Let’s take my excitement down a notch and lay out precisely why I chugged through this in under a day and loved every minute of it.

Continue reading “Review: Nothing But The Truth by Holly James”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday

Fast Forward Friday: She’s Nice Though by Mia Mercado (8/30/22)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is She’s Nice Though by Mia Mercado!
Expected Release: August 30, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • This is a collection of essays and musings on societal expectations and stereotypes, which is always something that fascinates me. The social science behind decisions is often such a web to untangle, and I love going on that journey with someone. The blurb highlights a focus on Asians, Midwesterners, and women and some common ones that come to them: being “nice” in particular.
  • And you know what? I bet it’ll be funny. I bet I will half the time be cackling and the other half be thoughtfully tilting my head. If I’m really lucky, there’s be a bit of both at once.
  • The author’s other work, Weird but Normal, also sounds like something I’d like. That gives me a lot of hope that if I like one, I’ll like the other, and then potentially have two great books to add to my list! Humorous and personally introspective nonfiction is some of my favorite. Also as a side thing, to be 100% honest, the bright yellow cover absolutely makes me like it more, PLUS the cover format of title-on-cake looks like Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want To Come by Jessica Pan which I LOVED.

Summary

And, at the center of it all, am I actually nice or am I just performing a role I think I’m expected to play?”

Mia Mercado is a razor-sharp cultural critic and essayist known for her witty and hilarious dissections of the uncomfortable truths that rule our lives. In this thought-provoking collection of new essays, Mercado examines what it means to be “polite,” “agreeable,” and “nice.” She covers topics from the subtleties of the “Bad Bitch” and why women dominate the ASMR market, to what makes her dog an adorable little freak and how you know if you’re shy. This is a book about the unspoken trick mirror of our “good” intentions: the inherent performance of the social media apology, celebrating men when they do the bare minimum, and why we trust a Midwesterner to watch our stuff when we go pee.

Throughout, she ponders her identity as an Asian woman and asks what “nice” even means–and why anyone would want to be it. With writing that is as precise as it is profound, and cultural references that range from trash reality television to the New York Times Sunday-morning crossword puzzle, Mercado uncovers weird, long-overdue truths about our frailties and failings. In the end, she sees them not as a source of shame but as a cause for celebration. Filled with revelations that range from the silly to the serious,

She’s Nice Though offers a mind-bending glimpse into the illusions and delusions of contemporary life–and reveals who we *really* are when no one is watching.

Posted in Reviews

Review: The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel

The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel
Recommended: not really
For constant internal monologues of feelings and wishy-washy struggles with what to do. If you want a character focused book exploring identity and what people owe to each other — whether friend, family, lover, or stranger — this may work for you. If you want a driving plot with some action and tension, this probably isn’t.

Summary

Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.

Though Meena’s impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It’s a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it’s a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.

Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.

Thoughts

This book was underwhelming and there were several times I probably would have stopped reading if it weren’t for the fact that I was using this book as a prompt item in a reading challenge. It wasn’t bad, but for me it wasn’t at all compelling. It started off alright, but then proceeded to very slowly… go…. nowhere.

This is heavily character driven, which isn’t something I realized going in and wasn’t really in the mood for. Most of this book is Meena’s thoughts and feelings on the core situation she’s in: whether to keep or sell the apartment she’s inherited, how much to let in the people who are now her neighbors, how she feels about the mystery behind Neha and why she has this inheritance. There’s not much action or other plot, besides a few times of tea and a Halloween party. If you want a story about one woman’s struggle with her identity and heritage that’s been a mystery to her, this will work. If you want more plot progression, you’re out of luck.

Continue reading “Review: The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel”
Posted in Fast-Forward Friday, Reviews

Fast Forward Friday: Nothing But The Truth (7/12)

Hey y’all! In contrast to Throwback Thursday, I like to use Fridays to look forward to an upcoming release that I’m excited about! Today’s is Nothing by the Truth by Holly James!
Expected Release: July 12, 2022

Why wait on this one?

  • I love a good story of reinvention. Whenever a person is like “Yo, the way I’m living right now A’INT WORKING” and then does something drastic to make change and find happiness, I love it! I can’t help but cheer for them!
  • I get the sense that Lucy is going to be a bold, take-no-shit kind of character. The title is all about giving the truth no matter what, and that usually leads to difficult or awkward conversations, as well as really lovely and personal ones! I want to see them all ^.^
  • Combining those two things, I expect some scenes of people getting what they deserve. And yes, I mean nasties getting schooled, but also — hopefully — sweethearts catching a break.

Summary

It’s the eve of Hollywood publicist Lucy Green’s thirtieth birthday, a day she hopes will bring the promotion she deserves and a proposal from her boyfriend. But he stands her up for a date, not for the first time, leaving Lucy alone at the bar—or at least, alone with the handsome bartender on the other side of the counter—so she makes a rueful wish over her cocktail for a perfect birthday. But when Lucy’s wish is granted in the most unexpected way, things go terribly awry, as things often do when wishes come true….

When Lucy wakes up on her big day, she can’t seem to force herself to go through her rigorous fitness and beauty routines—things she usually tells herself she likes. She has no desire to eat only a spoonful of yogurt for breakfast and she simply can’t bear to put on the uncomfortable shapewear needed for the power outfit she had planned for work.

When Lucy arrives at the office, she realizes that not only can she no longer lie to herself, she can’t lie to anyone else, either. Not her clients, not her boyfriend, not her creep of a boss. Now that she can’t hide how she feels, Lucy must confront all the injustices—small and large—she’s faced on a daily basis at work, in her relationship, and in every other aspect of her life…and the truth is going to come out in a big way.

Posted in Reviews

Review: Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Recommended: yes!
For a look at fame and legacy, for some play on gender norm flipping, for characters who go from unlikable to at least understandable, for a really interesting effect in the storytelling style

Summary

Dava Shastri, one of the world’s wealthiest women, has always lived with her sterling reputation in mind. A brain cancer diagnosis at the age of seventy, however, changes everything, as she decides to take her death—like all matters of her life—into her own hands.

Summoning her four adult children to her private island, she discloses shocking news: in addition to having a terminal illness, she has arranged for the news of her death to break early, so she can read her obituaries.

As someone who dedicated her life to the arts and the empowerment of women, Dava expects to read articles lauding her philanthropic work. Instead, her “death” reveals two devastating secrets, truths she thought she had buried forever. And now the whole world knows, including her children.

In the time she has left, Dava must come to terms with the decisions that have led to this moment—and make peace with those closest to her before it’s too late.

Thoughts

I’m not sure what I expected but it wasn’t this. What a pleasant discovery. I started off disliking every character, from Dava herself down to her grandchildren. As I saw into the minds and motivations of each of them, my understanding and sympathy grew. While I might still not be friends with all of these people, I no longer harboured my disdain for them.

I loved the way the past happened in this book. That might sound strange, but let me explain. There weren’t such clear moments of “that was then, this is now,” but at no time was it confusing. Dava is slipping between memories and her current experience so often as she deteriorates that we just slip along with her naturally. The feeling was akin to that of when you let your mind wander and end up recalling something you haven’t thought of in many years. All parts of the story were interesting and compelling, so I never resented moving from one moment to another.

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Posted in Reviews

Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams

Recommended: yes!
1. For people with vaginas
2. For people without vaginas (just be careful not to get too jealous)

Summary

In This Is How You Vagina, Dr. Nicole Williams presents readers with a much-needed education on the history, science, and attitudes of the most fascinating and misunderstood part of the female anatomy: the vagina. She covers valuable information about sexual function, childbirth, and physiology and provides answers to her patients’ (and probably your) most asked questions. She matter-of-factly dispels the most common myths and misinformation concerning female genitalia, including—

• No, your vagina doesn’t need steaming 
• Those panty liners are unnecessary—your vagina needs to breathe
• It’s actually perfectly normal for your vagina to have an odor—consider it your personal brand

This book is an easy-to-understand guide, complete with illustrations, for women to explore and understand their vaginas in a way they never have before. You will learn what’s normal and what’s not, including that, yes, yours is most certainly normal too.

This is How You Vagina is essential reading for anyone who is looking to better understand the form and function of this most majestic and fascinating organ.

Thoughts

Disclaimer: this is the weirdest review I’ve probably ever written. I’m also not sure it’s a review. Enjoy..?

I was excited to read this book because I know basically zero things about my vagina. How is it shaped? How does it WORK? How can I get it to feel great? What do I do when it feels terrible? And because I’m always a reader first, I of course sought out a book. Just call me Hermione.

I now have some answers to those questions, and damn if I don’t feel so great about that. I’m so happy to finally understand my body better! My current state and my future state! I’ve had SO many questions about menopause and was like, well it’s a while off I guess I’ll deal with it then. And yet, if I take care of myself now, I can make that transition a hell of a lot easier on myself. Basically I need to keep having lots of sex. Thanks Doc. 😏

Continue reading “Review: This Is How You Vagina: All About Your Vajayjay and Why You Probably Shouldn’t Call It That by Nicole E. Williams”

“Do you know how rife with toxic masculinity the phrase man up is?” I challenged, mirroring her pose. “It implies that to be courageous is to be a man.”

“Do you know how annoying it is when you change the subject?” Her tone was smug.

“I’m just saying, we don’t need to insert men into every aspect of our language.”

“Okay, ovary up. Fallopian forward. Vulva with a vengeance.”

How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams

Fallopian Forward

Posted in Reviews

ARC Review: Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell (9/14)

Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell
Verdict: fine for a diversion, nothing that blew me away on it’s own
Expected Release Date: September 14, 2021

Recommended: Sure
For a quick contemporary read, for a female-friendship story, for a look at alcoholism and falling into patterns even when they don’t make you happy and how to break out of it

Summary

Growing up, Gwen and Iris were the best of friends, even if they couldn’t have been more different. Now Gwen is living her hometown dream, or so she reminds herself while juggling endless parenting drama, an unemployed husband, and a neighborhood pyramid scheme. Never mind that at age thirty-nine, her social circle still resembles middle school. Her life is everything she ever wanted it to be, but nothing like she had planned.

Iris was never destined for the ordinary. When she moved to Manhattan, she shed her old life for a better one—but not without a cost. From a distance, Iris’s life couldn’t be more charmed, but no one knows about the cracks in the image she’s worked so hard to cultivate. No one knows the real Iris at all. Except for Gwen. But Iris and Gwen haven’t spoken for years. Until…

When Iris’s past catches up with her, she turns to the one person she could always count on—but she isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and as Gwen scrambles to preserve an illusion of domestic bliss, she finds herself wondering when they went from telling each other everything to sharing nothing. Now, a little wiser, and most certainly a little older, Gwen and Iris discover that the truest of friends accept you just as you are, and that loving yourself is sometimes the best way to find happiness.

Thoughts:

I went for this book because I had been reading a lot of heavy topics and depressing novels, and I wanted a bit of a break. I more or less got it with this, but it did have more serious issues than I expected. One of the main characters is DEFINITELY an alcoholic, and it’s painful to watch the many terrible decisions she makes. And somehow never admits or recognizes. DAMN, GIRL. It’s really not a whole lot easier to watch the other MC live in her sad rut of a life without galvanizing to do anything about it.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Reasons for Avoiding Friends by Megan Leavell (9/14)”