Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30268522-why-not-me&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img border=”0″ alt=”Why Not Me?” src=”https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1473956249m/30268522.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30268522-why-not-me”>Why Not Me?</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/194416.Mindy_Kaling”>Mindy Kaling</a><br/>
My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1971846458″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
I’m going to start this review in a similar strain to the beginning of my <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10335308.Is_Everyone_Hanging_Out_Without_Me___And_Other_Concerns_&#8221; title=”Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling” rel=”nofollow”>Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?</a> review: I love Mindy Kaling. She speaks to my heart. She’s funny, she’s smart, she’s someone that people can really admire. She’s not afraid to put herself out there, from working on <i>The Office</i> to creating and producing her own show to going out and doing photo shoots. As someone who is afraid of being photographed, I always admire people who can do it for a living. There is a reason why when I get a book published my photo is going to be the anonymous face from Facebook. <br /><br />Mindy’s like the big sister to my big sister. You know the one that you always secretly wish was closer to you but instead exists in a completely different social sphere? Like she’s in high school and you’re still in elementary school? Or you’re just a nobody from Pittsburgh and she’s a famous actress in LA? In my review of her last book, I made the offer that if she ever came to Pittsburgh, we should totally hang out. That offer still stands. I don’t know where all the cool kids hang out, but that’s what Google is for anyway. I’m sure Siri will find us something entertaining to do. <br /><br />While I loved <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10335308.Is_Everyone_Hanging_Out_Without_Me___And_Other_Concerns_&#8221; title=”Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling” rel=”nofollow”>Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?</a>, <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30268522.Why_Not_Me_&#8221; title=”Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling” rel=”nofollow”>Why Not Me?</a> is an improvement. While the last book had complaints about a lack of a unifying theme, the theme to this book lies in the title. Why not me? It’s a question that we should all ask ourselves at some point during our lives, as this self reflection can lead to great things. As she points out in the last chapter, women are expected not to have confidence. I have confidence issues, but Mindy has given me advice on how to be the greatest person I can be. This book has been almost as helpful for my self-esteem as <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2898360.Darren_Hardy&#8221; title=”Darren Hardy” rel=”nofollow”>Darren Hardy</a>’s daily mentoring. I don’t want to spoil it for you, because you really need to read the full book to really experience the lesson. There are a number of great parts in here that point to living a more confident life. From looking like a movie star, to handling social rejection, to love that never quite lives up to an active imagination, Mindy teaches us by example how to handle everything with grace and style.<br /><br />A perfect blend of wit and good advice, Mindy Kaling’s <i>Why Not Me?</i> is a perfect addition to any collection. <br /><br />You can check out my review of Mindy Kaling’s freshman book <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/372627471&#8243; rel=”nofollow”>here</a>.
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Review: Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders, #1)Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book 4 of my reread of Robin Hobb’s books before Assassin’s Fate comes out. I’m not doing as well on this personal challenge as I had hoped, considering I still have quite a few left to read. Ship of Magic was one of the ones that I had read previously, even if it had been a long time ago. Ship of Magic taught me more about sex then my sex ed class ever did. My book horizons have expanded since then. It was good to get caught up on this again, especially since the next one promises closure to the stories of Vivacia and Paragon.

Setting/Worldbuilding: 9/10

There are a lot of scenes that take place on some sort of ship, which is good, because when we are on the ship, I actually feel like I’m there. Unfortunately, when they get to port, I don’t really get much of a feeling for where they are at all. Perhaps it’s a device to help express the life of a sailor, because there is not much to distinguish one port from the next, but after detailed descriptions of the Six Duchies, I was expecting a little more.

On the other hand, while the physical setting is not as detailed as I would like it to be, the world building is phenomenal. There’s enough to keep you wondering about what exactly the Rain Wild Traders and the Bingtown Traders are hiding from the rest of the world, but enough to let you know exactly where all the characters stand in relation to each othe. I find it amusing that Bingtown finds the Six Duchies to be barbarians and backwards when from a modern standpoint, in relation to the women, we would find the Six Duchies to be much more progressive.

Plot/Pacing: 8/10

Like many fantasy novels, the plot sort of meanders along, following different threads til they suddenly come together shortly before the end. But, because we have so many different characters, and because Robin Hobb excels at characterization, the long stretches of character development and worldbuilding are not only bearable, they are actually entertaining. Not all fantasy novels manage to take that slow pace without the risk of losing interest, but Robin Hobb manages quite well.

Characters: 10/10

Robin Hobb excels at characterization, and this is the first book in The Realm of the Elderlings that highlights that fact. Instead of focusing on a singular protagonist like in the Farseer Trilogy, she expands to an assortment of POV characters. Not only does this keep the action sharp by following around different characters in parts that could have dragged the story down, it also allows her to show off her characterization skills.

The female characters are the real highlight. From Althea to Etta to Malta to Ronica each one of them is unique and serves the plot directly rather than simply being a plot device like so many other narratives. Despite the views of the society they live in, none of the plot would be happening if it were not for the female characters.

Althea: I believe Althea is supposed to be considered the main protagonist, even though this is an ensemble piece, considering that she is featured on my hardback cover. I like that she grows throughout the series, that she starts thinking that everything is owed to her and then she realizes that she actually has to earn it. My heart did break for her when Ophelia said the liveships would have sided with her against Kyle if she would have gone to them in the beginning, especially considering Vivacia’s fate.

Malta: I’m having a hard time reconciling the headstrong and ignorant Malta from this book from the one I grew to know first in the Rain Wild Chronicles. I’m looking forward to seeing how she develops over the next two books.

Etta: I love her. I love that she so easily takes over the ship once Kennit takes her on board, and that she doesn’t appear to be afraid of anything. The only thing I don’t like about her is that she’s getting jealous of the ship. It’s just a ship, girl. Relax. Your boyfriend is not quite as amazing as you think he is anyway, and you’re probably just better off taking over your own pirate ship.

Wintrow: If you want to talk about a broken heart, though, just think about poor Wintrow. Poor boy, just wants to live his life and his father just shoves him into another position. Just another example of how the patriarchy hurts more than just women.

Kyle: Hey, Kyle, did you perhaps ever mentor a young boy named Hest? Does the timeline work out for this? Because I feel that they went to the same school of douchery, or are related, or Kyle mentored him or something because Hest definitely feels like a Kyle Haven 2.0.

Brashen: Love interest? I don’t know. I have a vague feeling that I liked him more in the second book.

Kennit: I love Kennit, mostly because he’s such a well written villain. He keeps thinking that he has all these evil plots, but every time it “backfires” and makes him look like a hero. That fact that he keeps getting confused by it makes the whole situation better.

Overview: 10/10

It’s been fun rereading The Realm of the Elderlings from the beginning again. I know how a few things turn out, but it’s been interesting to see what I remember (not much) and to see what I’ve forgotten. As it turns out, I’ve forgotten most of this trilogy and given that it seems to be coming back, it’s probably good that I’m doing my reread now. It also reminded me that Robin Hobb seems to be very fond of the (view spoiler)

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Royal Assassin – Prologue Review

royal-assassin

The continuing adventures of Wolfboy and the Cinnamon Roll.

We start out a few months after Prince Jackass attempted to murder Wolfboy and Cinnamon Roll and successfully murdered a few other people, all while trying to block his brother’s wedding to the Viking Queen in an effort to be King in Waiting himself.  Wolfboy and Cinnamon Roll are still recovering in the mountain kingdom, and Wolfboy is having a hard time of it.  He’s going through an existential crisis thinking nothing he can do nothing because he is a cripple now and that Prince Jackass has already won.   The Cinnamon Roll remains a cinnamon roll, but there is nothing he can do for Wolfboy.  Wolfboy insists that if he wants to continue to serve him, the only way he can do so is to go back to Buckkeep without him.

I have a feeling Wolfboy is dreaming if he thinks for a second that Cinnamon Roll is going to leave him behind.

Review : Intriques

Intrigues
Intrigues by Mercedes Lackey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I read Foundation, I was excited to reenter the world of Valdemar. Companions, Heralds, yes even Bards were calling to me. I dug out my old Mercedes Lackey CD so I could import some of the songs into my iPod. The second book did not invoke the same feelings.

First books usually don’t get very far in the plot because they spend so much time setting up the rest of the series. I’m used to that, so the first book gets a pass in that department. When the second book doesn’t get very far in the plot department because it’s too busy setting up later books, then we have a problem. Nothing really happens in this book to make the overall plot move forward. I blame most of it on the Kirball.

I don’t know where this trend started. Possibly with Harry Potter. Intriques had to design a game for the characters to play. A difficult and dangerous game that we had to learn the rules of. One that was so dangerous that it conveniently puts one of the major characters out of action for the final climax.

Intriques was not a bad book, but it’s not going to rank among the most memorable of the Valdemar novels either.

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Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my third trip into the mind of John Green and my first experience with David Levithan. I wish all John Green books were like this. Good, yet not depressing. I credit Levithan’s influence. When they first agreed to start writing this, he was probably like “No, no, we are not going to see what we can do to break the readers.” Thank you, Mr. Levithan. It was a refreshing change.

So, “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” is about two boys who share the same name, and the comma that separates them and brings them together at the same time. Each chapter is told from the perspective of alternating Will Grayson’s, each Grayson being spearheaded by each of the authors. It took me a while to get into Levithan’s style, but once I did, I was really glad I decided to pick up this book.

Best part:

I mean, Jesus, who even gives a fuck about sex?! People act like it's the most important thing humans do, but come on. How can our sentient fucking lives revolve around something slugs can do.

As someone who has had this opinion about sex ever since I discovered what it was, I felt really connected to Green’s Grayson at that point.

This book already has a ton of praise written about it. My copy even has a false cover so that the inside two pages filled with glowing reviews are placed on eye-catching, shining pages. Anything I say at this point would likely be repetitive. If you have the opportunity to do so, give this one a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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Review: don’t let me go

Don't Let Me Go
Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I first became aware of J.H. Trumble when Kensington Books provided me with a copy of Where You Are. When I was unable to find Just Between Us after the release date, I ordered all three of Trumble’s books from my local Barnes and Noble to add to my collection. I never buy new books. I make a point of visiting Half Price Books at least once or twice a month so I can get more books for my piddly change. I spent 45$ to get all of Trumble’s books new. To put it another way, at a minimum wage job, I would have worked for six hours in order to get these books. That should speak volumes about my faith in Trumble’s writing ability. Still, I’ll make a proper review for those of you who remain skeptical.

I don’t read much young adult fiction. However, these books are so skillfully crafted, they transcend age limitations. Don’t Let Me Go is at times charming and uplifting and at others heart-wrenching. This book pulls no punches when it comes to the trials and tribulations of teenage love, and there were times when I was genuinely wondering how it was all going to have a happy end. (I was assured of a happy ending in the acknowledgements. I just occasionally lost faith in how we were going to get there.) I compared Where You Are to the best bubble bath in the world. This book also qualifies as a bubble bath, only one that got slightly cold towards the end until you remembered to add the hot water and make it pleasant again.

Because it was a debut novel, there were a few kinks that needed worked out. Most which seemed to have been resolved by the second novel. For instance, Juliet who whiplashes between being Nate and Adam’s staunchest supporter to wanting to get in Nate’s pants so fast it will make your head spin. The other downfall is that some of the plot twists seem unrealistic to me, despite Kensington trying to sell the book as “unflinchingly real.” Still, there rarely exists a flawless debut, and having had experience with Trumble’s other work, it can only continue to soar.

Finally, to all the people who disliked the book because they wanted to punch Nate in the face: Just remember, Nate did get punched in the face. By the person who most deserved to do it. That should be adequate compensation.

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Review: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Spank, spank, spankity spank. If you are a spanking connoisseur, and I’m sure you’re out there, this is the book for you. If not, avoid this book at all costs. My quest to find good erotica has lead me here, to the book people claimed was so much better than Fifty Shades of Grey and all other books that have stemmed from it. The only thing this book has going for it is it is much more inclusive of other sexual preferences than Fifty Shades. Instead of exclusively heterosexual sex, we have sex of varying degrees. Although, most of the sex scenes fall under the category of non-consensual, so the book loses a ton of points for that.

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty is supposed to be an erotic retelling of the classic tale of Sleeping Beauty, which is a promising idea. I have a book of erotic fairy tales I have yet to finish that explore the more sensual aspects of the original tales. What I have read so far is promising, in an amusing sort of way. But this book starts with the Prince waking Sleeping Beauty by having sex with her. While she is still asleep. And underage. If that doesn’t deter you, and to be honest, I wish I hadn’t bought the book by that point already, he then proceeds to claim her. As his slave. He takes her back naked to his kingdom where she will be put on display with all the other slaves.

Which brings me to the biggest question of the book. This kingdom is supposedly the most prosperous one in the area. All the lords and ladies sent tributes to this grand Queen. Yet the only currency they seem to have is sex. How does a Kingdom run like that?

Anyway, what follows Beauty’s imprisonment is a series of spankings, more spankings, the humiliation of the other slaves, and her falling in love with one of the Prince slaves. The whole time she is warned that the absolute worst thing that could happen to her is to be sent to the village. Naturally, what does she do? She finds a way to displease the royalty so greatly that he has no choice but to send her to the village. For what? Just so she can have wagon sex with Prince Tristan, who she has seen exactly once before. Characterization and proper plot development are nowhere to be found in this book.

Say it with me now: erotica is not an excuse for slipshod writing. Readers, yes, even erotica readers, are not stupid. If you don’t treat your readers with respect, they aren’t going to buy any more of your books. So my quest for good erotica continues.

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