Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real

Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real by Brian Gordon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like many of the other comic artists that I have read lately, I first discovered Brian Gordon on Instagram. The work is great, combining the ups and downs of parenting with well-drawn comics that just get it. Though not a parent myself, I've experience quite a few of these instances with children, and they are spot on. A fun book to read as a parent or to buy as a gift for parents who are in the middle of all the crazy things life with children brings.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Review: The Chaos of Longing

The Chaos of Longing The Chaos of Longing by K.Y. Robinson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Chaos of Longing is a book of poetry that contains four sections, each with a different theme that surrounds the idea of loving, losing and finding yourself in and outside of relationships. In terms of what I liked, there were a few pieces here and there, but not memorable enough to want to read them over again. It's a collection that contains a lot of repetition in it's phrases and themes, so that may be why nothing stands out as a wow-moment. This collection is quite a lot like the whole modern poetry movement--no fancy metaphors, no flowery language, just simple ideas with a message (usually messages of finding ways to heal after bad relationships). This may work for people who aren't familiar with poetry at all, but I find it a little too repetitive with what's already out there in the market.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams

Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This collection of Plath's writings has a lot of different things going on. There are the diary entries which discuss real life neighbors and friends during her time living in the English countryside--these are relatively boring and don't do anything for the totality of the collection. Then there are the essays--straight to point, but not mesmerizing. The short stories are the reason to pick up this collection. By far the best one is the title story, but because the collection is front loaded with the boring stuff, you have to stick with it to see this story and much of the better work included. Overall, it's a decent collection and should be read by Plath fans because it's something slightly different than the work she is remembered for.

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Book Spotlight: Login to Heaven




Writer Neil Ionov forges a path into the world of new and original science fiction with his book, Login to Heaven - a gateway to new ideas and fascinating possibilities!

The author's original storyline merges high technology and high spirituality into one integrated world. IT departments operate in monasteries where hundreds of programmers invent new technologies, disseminating them via "cloud servers," and designers create innovative equipment and gadgets. Scientists in monastery laboratories, working in concert with the Heavenly World, engineer celestial armor and make incredible scientific breakthroughs.

This book is available to download FREE from Amazon.  

For more information about Login to Heaven, check out the book trailer

About the Author:

Neil Ionov is a Russian science fiction and Christian author.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: Lady Stuff: Secrets to Being a Woman

Lady Stuff: Secrets to Being a Woman Lady Stuff: Secrets to Being a Woman by Loryn Brantz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been enjoying Loryn Brantz's work on Instagram for a few months now, so when I found out there was a whole book of this stuff, I wanted to get my hands on it. If you follow Brantz online, you've probably already seen most of the content contained in this book, but the good thing about Brantz's work is that you can read it over again and the smile won't leave your face. Anyone that loves fun toons about the perils of life (especially the perils of all things to do with being a lady) will love this collection.

*Book provided by NetGalley

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: The Summer Before

The Summer Before The Summer Before by Ann M. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been years since I've read a BSC book, and this one brought it all back. It takes place the summer before the original series began, and it explains how the BSC almost never became a club because of all the dynamic shifts with the friendships of Mary Anne, Claudia and Kristy. It also introduces Stacey into the mix, even though she's not yet a friend of the rest of the group.

I don't think the BSC series necessarily needed this prequel, but I found it interesting as I already started reading book #1 that this whole book is summed up in one long paragraph in the first chapter, like the story had already been written thirty years ago, just not published until 2010. And I found it really interesting that the book is careful not to give away any clues as to what year it really takes place in, keeping the series just as timeless as it has been.

Personally, I would have liked to see a fast forward instead of a prequel, because I cannot imagine what all of these characters are doing as adults, and I would be interested in finding out.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sari Botton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“There is the ache of not having another place in the world where I might ever feel so alive and alone, invisible while visible, ever again. Alone in exactly the right kind of way.”

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York is a collection of essays from writers who have loved, left and maybe still long for those days when they could write and live in New York.

(This review combines this essay collection with the second collection Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York because both collections are so similar.)

The essays in both books represent a wide range of writers, from those who have always called the city their home to those who felt a pull or a calling to move to New York just to write, in many cases because pop culture has long established that “it's just what you do.” They explore their lives, loves, random jobs to pay the rent, terrible places to live, and the love affair that they feel with the city—with a few referencing the movie Manhattan as to give some sort of a visual representation of that type of infatuation with a place.

What becomes clear in both collections is that most of the writers participating entered New York at a vastly different time than it appears today. Many talk about moving to the city in the seventies, eighties and nineties (almost all essayists arrived in the pre-9/11 era) when there were still a few reasonable rents to be found and Times Square was a danger zone. It is not at all surprising that many of these writers ended up leaving some time after 2000 with skyrocketing rents and a somewhat harder time breaking into and keeping your head above water in the writing industry.

In both collections, there are a mix of those who left and never came back, those who still visit, and those who have stayed the course because New York is the only place to be. But every single essay seems to present a longing, even if the writer stayed. There's a longing to have that first feeling again of putting your feet on the sidewalk. There's the longing for all-night food delivery or being able to walk to any type of establishment you want to without ever seeing the same face twice. There's a longing for that one moment where the stars align before the city changes again.

These essays represent every reason why writers all over the world think that New York is the only place to be, but also wishing there was someplace more affordable or more forgiving than New York to thrive as a writer. Detroit keeps being recommended for those who want to have similar experiences to New York in the eighties, with just one problem—Detroit will never be New York. As one essayist puts it: “These days, being a creative person in New York is, in many cases, contingent upon inheriting the means to do it.”

But still I think these essays make a point that writers of all types should probably throw caution to the wind and have a New York period—whether that's a decade, a summer or one really good weekend. It needs to be explored an observed to be believed, because very few people on this earth come from a place as crowded, diverse, and amazing as New York. And you can't miss out on something like that.

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