Monday, February 27, 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review: Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

 Summary from Goodreads:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch PerfectUp in the AirTwilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).


My Review:

What I Liked:

Everything. :D I did not expect to connect on so many levels with Anna Kendrick. However, she reminded me of my own experiences and personality on many levels. I connected with how she is constantly thought be younger than she is, and her issues with anxiety. 

I hope that she writes more about her experiences in Hollywood because she brings a sense of normal to a career and life that tends to be viewed as otherworldly. Kendrick does a great job of grounding herself and I loved reading about her life/opinions. 

Humor. I really loved Kendrick's humor (on the screen as well) and found myself laughing a lot. I'm hoping to pick up the audiobook that Anna Kendrick reads herself because I bet it would convey more of the dry humor.

The Message. I was not expecting to resonate with the issues that Kendrick brings up, most of all with gender expectations and double standards.  

Writing. Kendrick did a great job with the style of the memoir and I enjoyed her tone/voice. She touches on a lot of topics but does it in a way that does not confuse the reader.

What I Did Not Like:

I had little to no problems with this novel (which is something these days), and I even spread out this 304 page novel because I did not want it to end. The only chapter that was hard to follow was one about partying on buccaneers day but it did have an overall good message about maturing. 

The main thing downside was the length, I needed more of Kendrick's humor and great writing style.

I recommend checking out this amazing and hilarious memoir! :)

My Rating:

5 Stars Out of 5 Stars.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wishlist Wednesday # 129



Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that has been on your wishlist/TBR list for a while, the meme is hosted by Pen to Paper.
 Summary from Goodreads:

She was the first person to see me as I had always wanted to be seen. It was enough to indebt me to her forever. 

At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon Kisses, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel Vaught, brash, unapologetic, wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over underground comics and dysfunctional families. Working, absorbing, drinking. Drawing: Mel, to understand her own tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, and with the release of their first full-length feature, a fearless look at Mel's childhood, they stand at the cusp of success. But while on tour to promote the film, cracks in their relationship start to form: Sharon begins to feel like a tag-along and suspects that raucous Mel is the real artist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, threatening their partnership—and hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

“An engrossing, exuberant ride through all the territories of love—familial, romantic, sexual, love of friends, and, perhaps above all, white-hot passion for the art you were born to make . . . I wish I’d written The Animators.”—Emma Donoghue, author of Room and The Wonder

My Notes:

I picked up this contemporary novel from the Book of the Month club and it sounds like an amazing read! 

Waiting on Wednesday # 130



"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, where you pick a book that is coming out soon that you want to read.

Summary from Goodreads:

A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married. 

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My Notes:

The contemporary sounds so good and I need some cuteness/humor in my life! :)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #142

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The Meme Comes From The Book Dare.


Books I Read Last Week:

The Reptile Room (A Series of Unfortunate Events #2) by Lemony Snicket
The Wide Window (A Series of Unfortunate Events #3) by Lemony Snicket
Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough


Number of Pages: 726


Currently Reading: (not counting the many books I'm reading for my classes XD)


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Stacking the Shelves/Weekly Update #133


Reviews: 

Review: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

Won:

Bad Girl Gone by Temple Mathews
Grimm Woods by D. Melhoff 
The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit #1) by Sarah Jean Horwitz 
Rules for Thursday Lovers by Yana Stajno





Review: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough

 Summary from Goodreads:

Why is everyone talking about the ending of Sarah Pinborough's Behind Her Eyes?

Louise is a single mom, a secretary, stuck in a modern-day rut. On a rare night out, she meets a man in a bar and sparks fly. Though he leaves after they kiss, she’s thrilled she finally connected with someone.

When Louise arrives at work on Monday, she meets her new boss, David. The man from the bar. The very married man from the bar…who says the kiss was a terrible mistake but who still can’t keep his eyes off Louise.

And then Louise bumps into Adele, who’s new to town and in need of a friend, but she also just happens to be married to David. David and Adele look like the picture-perfect husband and wife, but then why is David so controlling, and why is Adele so scared of him?

As Louise is drawn into David and Adele’s orbit, she uncovers more puzzling questions than answers. The only thing that is crystal clear is that something in this marriage is very, very wrong, but Louise can’t guess how wrong―and how far a person might go to protect their marriage’s secrets.
 

My Review:

What I Liked:

Characters. Despite the fact that all the character made stupid choices, the characters were rich and interesting. My favorite point of view was Louise, she was a down to earth character who was also funny/realistic.

Writing. I was not expecting much when I started reading but I'm now interested in checking out Pinborough's other novels. The writing flowed well and keep me interested and the characters were three-dimensional.

Short Chapters. I love when novels have short chapters, it makes the pacing go quicker and I was able to fly through the novel.

What I Did Not Like:

Supernatural elements/the twist. I'm not going to spoil the big twist but I was not expecting the novel to dive into the paranormal. It actually gave me some nightmares because it delt with elements that freak me out. Just a warning to those who are expecting a straightforward realistic thriller.

The main reason I kept reading was because I really enjoyed Pinborough's writing style and I could not put the book down. However, I disliked the twist at the end and the addition of supernatural elements.

POVS. I dislike multiple POVS and I would have liked the novel more if the POV had only been from Louise or even Adele, I just disliked the constant switching of POVS.

I still recommend checking out this novel for the addictive writing, however, if you get freaked out easily like me it might be best to skip it.

My Rating:

3.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars. 


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Review: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

 Summary from Goodreads:

In this graphic memoir, Alison Bechdel charts her fraught relationship with her late father.

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the Fun Home. It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

My Review:

What I Liked:

The Style. I found the art style interesting and enjoyed how realistic the images were. It does still lack some detail, and a lack of color, but I felt that the art style/colors fit with the story.

The Message. I had a hard time following the graphic memoir because of the time jumps and the wordiness. However, I really liked the the main message of sexual acceptance and not hiding who you are.

What I Did Not Like:

Graphic Nudity. After rereading, I now understand why the author uses the graphic imagery. However, I was still not a fan of the amount of graphic nudity within the comic.

Hard to Follow. As a stated before the lack of cohesive time line through me off and struggled with understanding everything that was happening. The amount of dialogue/words were out of balance with the images and felt like a chore to read them all.

Even though I struggled with this graphic memoir, I still recommend checking it out because it is well written. However, be warned it has some graphic nudity.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars.

Monday, February 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #141

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The Meme Comes From The Book Dare.


Books I Read Last Week:

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel




Number of Pages: 232


Currently Reading:

Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

 Summary from Goodreads:

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

My Review:

What I Liked:

Rune and Thorn. The characters (and some of the strange side characters) were the best part of this POTO retelling and I loved both of the main characters points of view. Rune felt like a real girl that has to deal going to a boarding school in a different country, I connected with her character and loved the fact that she was down to earth and did not make stupid choices. And Thorn was such an unique character, it was interesting to read about his past and I loved reading from his point of view.

The Romance. Despite some of the aspects that I did not care for I still enjoyed the novel and the romance was the main reason I kept reading. I was rooting for the main love interests and I would love to read more with the couple.

The writing/plot. I'm a fan of Howard's writing style (from her Alice in Wonderland retelling) because it is unique and I never know what to expect from chapter to chapter.  I was disappointed with some aspects of the plot but I appreciate the inventiveness and creativity with the story line.

What I Did Not Like:

Plot. Howard combines The Phantom of the Opera with paranormal elements and as  fan of the original novel it was not my favorite mixture. I think it would have been stronger as a separate plot without the retelling aspect. And I struggled with some of the parts that felt like there was too much information in a short amount of pages.

Pacing. I struggled with the pacing of the first half and I had to push myself to keep reading.

I recommend checking out this novel for the interesting story but as a die hard phantom fan it was a bit disappointing.

My Rating:

3.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Stacking the Shelves/Weekly Update #132


Reviews: 

Review: A Sand County Almanac And Sketches Here And There - American Museum Of Natural History Special Members' Edition by Aldo Leopold

Won:
There Will Be Stars by Billy Coffey 
The Classic & Craft Cocktail Recipe Book: The Definitive Guide to Mixing Perfect Cocktails from Aviation to Zombie by Clair McLafferty


For Review:

Etched in Bone (The Others #5) by Anne Bishop
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer


Library:

Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review: A Sand County Almanac And Sketches Here And There - American Museum Of Natural History Special Members' Edition by Aldo Leopold

 Summary from Goodreads:

This special edition of the highly acclaimed A Sand County Almanac commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Aldo Leopold, one of the foremost conservationists of our century. First published in 1949 and praised in The New York Times Book Review as "full of beauty and vigor and bite," A Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and highly ethical regard for America's relationship to the land. 

My Review:

What I Liked:

The Language. I was not expecting to enjoy the writing style as much as I did. Leopold's writing is fluid and beautiful as he describes birds and plants on his sand farm.

The Main Message. Leopold is very persuasive as he makes the main point that man and nature should come together as a community and work together. People should treat their private and public land in an ethical way. (yes I am studying for an exam about this right now, XD)

Metaphors. I wrote my first essay for my American Nature Writing course on the metaphors that Leopold uses to influence his audience. He tends to use images of music and religion to describes the beauty and system of nature.

What I Did Not Like:

Pacing. As the novel goes on it focuses more on academic and large sweeping messages like land ethics and the Code of Sportsmanship. The main message was easy to figure out but I felt that it was a bit repetitive near the end of the novel and I struggled to finish.

Terminology. I struggled with the names of animals, plants, and aspects for ecology that I was unaware.

If you are interested in nature and love poetic language I would recommend checking out this nonfiction text! The descriptions of nature are done beautifully and really immerse the reader in the landscape.

My Rating:

4 Stars Out of 5 Stars

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Teaser Tuesday # 1

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by Purple Princess of The Purple Booker.

Here are the rules:

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a page
3. Pick out 2 lines that are SPOILER FREE
4. Name the title, author, etc



"A dawn wind stirs on the great marsh. With almost imperceptible slowness it rolls a bank of fog across the wide morass." - pg. 95.

A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold.


My Comments:

I just finished my writing my first essay for my American Nature Writing Course (exam on Friday XP) and this was the piece I wrote about.