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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9/21/2016 Comic Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week

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My Little Pony: Friends Forever #32

The shiest pony who’s ever shied, Fluttershy, meets the most adventurous adventurer ever: Daring Do! When the two embark on a perilous journey together it may be up to Fluttershy to teach Daring Do the meaning of bravery!

This was a little late because I had a hard time making a decision this week.  I only picked up the two, and while neither one was necessarily bad, neither one wowed me either.  Ultimately, I went with My Little Pony because I’m a sucker for Daring Do and particularly the villains that come along with her.  I also feel a strong affinity with Fluttershy.

Reasons to pick this one up:   Daring Do stories generally don’t disappoint, even though this one is a little heavy handed with the meaning of bravery.

Reasons to avoid: It’s heavy handed with its morals, which is unsurprising given that subtlety was never the strong suit of the franchise.

Runner Up:

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Harley Quinn (2016-) #4

“108 MILLION WAYS TO DIE!” Even though she hates to leave Coney Island as it rebuilds after the zombie apocalypse, Harley must set out on a journey that will take her around the world-and into the clutches of a bizarre robotic enemy! Too bad her Mecha-Harley suit didn’t fit in the overhead bin…

Harley Quinn rarely disappoints, and her quest to shut down call centers struck close to him.  Especially since I have been getting that same IRS call at least four or five times a week for the past several months.  Shut them down, Harley.  Shut them down.

Reasons to pick up:  It’s Harley Quinn.  Also, the alternate cover with her and Poison Ivy is gorgeous.  I managed to snag alternate covers for both my picks this week.

Reasons to avoid: Eh, it’s not the best volume that’s come out of this particular series so far, but at least it’s not boring.

 

 

Review: Forsaken by the Others

Forsaken by the Others
Forsaken by the Others by Jess Haines
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m sure this book is a great read if you’ve been following the series from the beginning. It seems like it would be a lot of fun if you were already on friendly terms with the main characters. Unfortunately, it’s rather unforgiving on newcomer’s even though the plot doesn’t actually start until a third of the way through the book because of the confusing attempts at backstory. And if I had started reading from the first book, I might have been slightly more forgiving when this book hit on two of my biggest grievances with fiction.

Towards the end of the book, there’s a huge battle and Shia is handed an AK-47 to use. She’s never held one before. Yet somehow when the battle starts, she manages to hit all her targets. Let’s be clear, the official accuracy rating of the AK-47 is “good enough.” A trained marksman, from a standing position, can only hit his target in about 1 in 10 times. Yet the snowflake heroine manages to shoot a vampire through the eye with a single shot. Have her miss once or twice first. Not only will it build the tension, it will also make your gun scenes more realistic. I’m not suggesting all authors who write guns join the NRA, but doing some basic research would make the story more engaging. Also, where is all the damn American pride? Let’s see some M-16’s every once in a while.

My other major problem was that all three of her gay characters were evil coated douchebags with bastard filling, and all three of her evil characters just happened to be gay. Gay characters who came off creepy and predatory to boot. Granted, two of them are vampires, but the third one has no such excuse. Listen, perhaps in other books she has well-rounded homosexual character who aren’t evil (she definitely has evil characters who aren’t homosexual), but from where I’ve been introduced to her work, it’s not look very pretty.

Like I said, the series is probably a lot of fun for someone more familiar with it (we had zombies!) but as an introduction to Haines’ writing, it’s not particularly strong. Had it not hit upon two of my biggest pet peeves, or had I had an earlier introduction to the series, I’m pretty sure I would be looking forward to book 6.

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Review: The Silver Chain

The Silver Chain
The Silver Chain by Primula Bond
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

The Silver Chain is an excellent example of the dangers of writing to the market. Following on the heels of Fifty Shades of Grey, The Silver Chain is about a young, mostly sexually inexperienced girl who starts a predominantly sexual relationship with an older, wealthy man. A man with a dark relationship history who’s into some pretty kinky stuff. Serena is a small town photographer who wants to make it on her own in London. Wealthy patron Gustav Levi wants to exhibit her work, splitting the profits 50/50 as long as she essentially agrees to be his sex slave. While they’re together, he links them together with a thin silver chain, apparently unnoticeable by passerby, the symbolism of which is a bit heavy-handed and the actual chain becomes a bit absurd towards the end when he uses it to chain her in the house and it somehow never manages to snag on anything while she goes on her explorations.

The Silver Chain had the potential to be good. Primula Bond uses evocative language that can really engage a reader in the narrative. The problem is, in an effort to jump on the bandwagon fast enough, the book was poorly edited as it was shoved out the publishing house doors. Inconsistencies abound, both in logic and in plot. At one point, his hair will be slicked back, the next paragraph it will be falling forward. At times it feels like the characters are having two different conversations. No wonder they have so many problems with their relationship. He tells her she will kneel, she cracks a joke about scrubbing his floors on her hands and knees. They have a phone conversation the reader is privy to. When she arrives, he reminds her he told her about a proposition for her on the phone. He never said anything about a proposition during the actual phone conversation.

Also, in the attempt to copy Christian Grey, the effort to make him cold and aloof makes him downright unlikeable. His entire staff seems to only be so loyal because they are legitimately afraid he will kill them if they aren’t. While galloping through the woods (a bad idea for any rider, no matter how well you think you know the trails because they can change a lot in five years), she falls off the horse and for a while he just leaves her there, claiming he thought she was right behind him the entire time. Then after they finally have sex in a manner described with such violent language that it feels like rape, he chains her inside the house for the day. This is not the behavior of a man who has been emotionally damaged by his ex-wife; this is the behavior of someone who should be carefully monitored by the police.

Like I said, all hope is not lost. Bond has other erotic novels that are rated much higher, and her grasp of language is excellent. I hope she continues to write her own works instead of hopping on a trend on the verge of dying out.

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Review: Songspinners

Cover of "Songspinners"

Cover of Songspinners

Songspinners by Sarah Ash
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sarah Ash was gracious enough to send me a copy of this book over the summer when I mentioned on my blog that it was one of two that I had not been able to track down in the US. The best part about that is Songspinners will soon be coming to ebook format, along with her other two UK only novels, and everyone should be able to enjoy them. Despite having read this book nearly every night since I got it, I just recently finished it due to tiny print difficulties and my eyesight not quite being what it used to be. In fact, my copy actually has a signed apology for the tiny print, so I’m rather hoping she will forgive me for the lateness of my review. For those of you planning to read Songspinners in the future, you’re in luck, because the ebook will hopefully not have issues with tiny print and this is a rare gem of a fantasy novel that should not be overlooked.

Songspinners is a great read for music lovers, fantasy lovers, and people who just want a book with an interesting, character driven narrative. The book takes you into a world where music can do incredible things, a world that’s not entirely different from our own. Ultimately, it is the transformative power of music that saves the day. There is no traditional hero with a sword… well, not one that you would be expecting at any rate.

The novel revolves around the intertwining lives of Orial, a young woman who appears to be suffering from the same “disease” as her mother, Amaru Khassian, a talented composer whose skills have gotten him into trouble with the ruling power in his home country and no longer has the use of his hands, and Acir Korentan, a religious soldier who was tasked with the job of bringing Khassian back for judgment. The brilliant part about the narrative is how these three perfectly ordinary people end up changing the world through their interactions with each other.

Perhaps what I love most about the book is that it is made perfectly clear that religion itself is not the oppressive issue, rather it is the corrupt people wielding it that are causing all the suffering.

If you’ve read any of Sarah Ash’s other works and enjoyed them, I highly recommend Songspinners. I would also recommend it to someone who is just looking for a good, innovative fantasy.

On one last note, the back of my copy has a snippet of a review from a Paul Di Filippo, who states ‘A romance worthy of Dumas…’ I have to question if he read the same book I did. Yes, Orial’s little crush was sweet and all, and then you had the little ice and fire dance between Korentan and Fiammis, but neither one could actually be called the defining romance. While there is a romance, that snippet makes it seem like it is the most important aspect of the book that it would slap you in the face or something. In fact, I went into the first couple of pages thinking there was going to be some sappy romance between Orial and Khassian that was going to flood the pages until I drowned in it. I should have known better, considering the author, but it was an early book and I had my doubts. One of these days, I will learn to stop trusting cover blurbs.

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Review: Season for Surrender


Season for Surrender by Theresa Romain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Witty and engaging, this book is the perfect joining of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice and Oscar Wilde’s “A Woman of No Importance.”

Lord Xavier would stake his reputation on a wager. In fact, his entire reputation is build on wagers. So when his cousin proposes a wager on whether or not Xavier can keep a certain house guest at his party for the entirety of the season, he feels like he has no choice but to agree.

The guest in question is Louisa, a intelligent young woman who is no stranger to scandal. The year before she was engaged, but her fiance fell in love with her step sister and ended up marrying her instead. So Lord Xavier’s party is the perfect excuse for her to get out again. And at least she’ll be supervised, so she shouldn’t be able to get into too much trouble.

While Xavier is doing everything in his power to keep Louisa there, his cousin is doing everything possible to scandalize her and send her packing. Meanwhile, Louisa knows about the bet the entire time, so everything either of them does either angers her or amuses her, depending on which one it’s coming from and her mood at the time.

Xavier gives her access to his library, where she comes across some family secrets, and the two bond through something I’ve haven’t seen much in romance novels, their intelligence. They have conversations where they quote classical literature in the original language. It’s amazing, and I love to see such intelligent characters grace the page. Theresa Romain really shines in her dialogue, especially between Xavier and Louisa.

There was only one issue I had with this particular book, and it was with the second sex scene. The first and third one were absolutely fine, but the second just felt off to me. It was like these two witty characters I had enjoyed reading about were suddenly replaced with cheap porn stars, and it was rather jarring for me. Note, I must again point out that this was only a problem with the second sex scene.

Overall, I found this book to be witty and engaging, perfect for reading in a bubble bath at the end of a long day. I fully intend to track down the first book now.

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Supernatural: Where Do Broken Hearts Go?

Supernatural Season 8 Logo

Review: Heartache 8×02

Supernatural has returned to the monster of the week for filler, so that unfortunately meant no Crowley this week.  While that might have been disappointing, and believe me, I understand people were more upset about the lack of Cas, Supernatural has always found a way to tie the monster of the week into the larger scheme of the season.  Unless you started watching post Season 4, most people started watching the show for the supernatural mysteries that occurred every week.  Well, that and to see what myths the writers would be playing with that particular week.

This case involved a series of murders in separate towns, all of which involved the heart being ripped out of the person’s chest.  The connection between all the crimes is that the victim had all received organs from the same person.

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