Tag «humour»

Single Sundays: As You Wish by Cary Elwes

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride (from Goodreads):

From actor Cary Elwes, who played the iconic role of Westley in The Princess Bride, comes a first-person account and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the cult classic film filled with never-before-told stories, exclusive photographs, and interviews with costars Robin Wright, Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest, and Mandy Patinkin, as well as author and screenwriter William Goldman, producer Norman Lear, and director Rob Reiner.

The Princess Bride has been a family favorite for close to three decades. Ranked by the American Film Institute as one of the top 100 Greatest Love Stories and by the Writers Guild of America as one of the top 100 screenplays of all time, The Princess Bride will continue to resonate with audiences for years to come.

Cary Elwes was inspired to share his memories and give fans an unprecedented look into the creation of the film while participating in the twenty-fifth anniversary cast reunion. In As You Wish he has created an enchanting experience; in addition to never-before seen photos and interviews with his fellow cast mates, there are plenty of set secrets, backstage stories, and answers to lingering questions about off-screen romances that have plagued fans for years!

With a foreword by Rob Reiner and a limited edition original poster by acclaimed artist Shepard Fairey, As You Wish is a must-have for all fans of this beloved film.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Cary Elwes
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Memoir, Celebrity
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Multiple
Publication Date: October 24, 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Princess Bride is one of my favourite movies AND a favourite novel. The book is fantastic but the movie is just as good–if not better. If it is on TV, I have to sit down and watch it, regardless of what I am doing. Yes, I’m one of those people who throws out the famous lines whenever I have a chance. It’s a classic.

vizzini princess bride animated GIF

Anyways, I didn’t even know this book existed until I read a review by Lindsey @ Bring My Books last winter. The audiobook really appealed to me because I enjoy memoirs more in their audio version and the idea that all of these actors reunite to present their fave stories from the set? Fantastic! It took me a ridiculously long time to get my hold from the library, but once I did, I dove right in.

The Concept:

Let me explain... (The Princess Bride)

The best way to describe this book is this: it’s like a behind the scenes narration of a movie set. You know, that feature on DVDs where you can turn on commentary or a special video feature? It is just like that.

Cary Elwes (Westley), leads you through the making of the movie from its conception as a book, through the early stages of production to filming and how it has been received over the years since. Along the way, you get little tidbits from everyone else who was a part of it.

It’s a lot of fun to listen to if you enjoy behind the scenes stories and memories.

The Writing/Narration:

Image result for princess bride gifs

I thought the story had a great flow to it so it made it easy to listen to. Cary does a good job of explaining what filming was like “back in the day” so you don’t have to guess or fill your mind with stereotypes.

But what really sold me on this book was the narration from the other cast members. You can tell they have genuine affection for this movie and their time together which is so nice to see/hear. It just warmed my heart to listen to.

Did it Impact My Life?

Image result for princess bride gifs

Not particularly. I think it made me love the movie more though. The very idea that this movie might never had happened breaks my heart; but to see the end product and to see how the cast and viewers love it makes me smile a little bit more since reading this book.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you enjoy The Princess Bride movie and want to know more about how it was made, this is a great read. It brings back all the great memories you probably have of reading the book or watching the movie.

Read if You Like: behind the scenes stories, memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike the Princess Bride  <–if you ask me that would be:


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Single Sundays: Sh*t my Dad Says by Justin Halpern

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Sh*t my Dad Says (from Goodreads):
After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is “like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair,” has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him:
“That woman was sexy. . . . Out of your league? Son, let women figure out why they won’t screw you. Don’t do it for them.”

“Do people your age know how to comb their hair? It looks like two squirrels crawled on their heads and started fucking.”

“The worst thing you can be is a liar. . . . Okay, fine, yes, the worst thing you can be is a Nazi, but then number two is liar. Nazi one, liar two.”
More than a million people now follow Mr. Halpern’s philosophical musings on Twitter, and in this book, his son weaves a brilliantly funny, touching coming-of-age memoir around the best of his quotes. An all-American story that unfolds on the Little League field, in Denny’s, during excruciating family road trips, and, most frequently, in the Halperns’ kitchen over bowls of Grape-Nuts, Sh*t My Dad Says is a chaotic, hilarious, true portrait of a father-son relationship from a major new comic voice

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Author: Justin Halpern
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Sometimes, I get car sick when I read. It puts a damper on my reading plans (that’s 3-6 hours I could use to starting/finishing a novel!) but when I discovered the awesomeness that is audiobooks last year, I saw a great alternative. So when it came to the summer and I had two road trips scheduled, I made sure I had some audiobooks on hand just in case I felt like tossing my cookies while I attempted to finish a novel.

Honestly, I found this novel by browsing the nonfiction>humour>available now options at my library. I was familiar with this story though and thought it would be a fun one to listen to, especially with my family who loves witty comedies.

The Concept:

This is a pretty fun concept. We all have that one family member who seems to say the randomest things that make you laugh. It could be your dad, your uncle, your mom, your sibling, your grandma–the list is endless. And then. ever once and a while, they impart this little nugget of wisdom. So I think it goes without saying that most readers can relate to this in some way or another. I know I can from all of the above.

The Writing/Narration:

Each chapter focuses on Justin coming to terms with his current life situation and how something his dad says applies to the lesson he learns. And in between the chapters, you get random quotes from his dad.

I honestly think this book is one the is 20x more fun to listen to than read it. By listening to the story, you get to actually hear the lines delivered to you the way they were delivered to Justin. It almost makes this book seem like a comedy routine instead of a novel.

Did it Impact My Life?

I’ve now started to compile a list of all the sh/t my dad says…just kidding 😉

My Rating: 4/5

overall

This book is short but highly entertaining. I would definitely recommend listening to the audiobook over the physical book–it is so, so funny.

Read if You Like: humour, family based stories, memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike audiobooks, want a longer read

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Single Sundays: Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living (from Goodreads):
Parks and Recreation actor Nick Offerman shares his humorous fulminations on life, manliness, meat, and much more in his first book.

Growing a perfect moustache, grilling red meat, wooing a woman—who better to deliver this tutelage than the always charming, always manly Nick Offerman, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Ron Swanson? Combining his trademark comic voice and very real expertise in woodworking—he runs his own woodshop—Paddle Your Own Canoe features tales from Offerman’s childhood in small-town Minooka, Illinois—“I grew up literally in the middle of a cornfield”—to his theater days in Chicago, beginnings as a carpenter/actor and the hilarious and magnificent seduction of his now-wife Megan Mullally. It also offers hard-bitten battle strategies in the arenas of manliness, love, style, religion, woodworking, and outdoor recreation, among many other savory entrees.

A mix of amusing anecdotes, opinionated lessons and rants, sprinkled with offbeat gaiety, Paddle Your Own Canoe will not only tickle readers pink but may also rouse them to put down their smart phones, study a few sycamore leaves, and maybe even hand craft (and paddle) their own canoes.

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Author: Nick Offerman
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour, Celebrity
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

My first exposure to Nick Offerman was as the enigma of Ron Swanson on the fanastic TV comedy Parks and Rec. So I am going to apologize in advance for the many gifs that I’ve added to this review.

Ron Swanson is one of my all time favourite TV characters and because of that, I love Nick Offerman. I don’t like to be that person who equates an actor to be the same person they play in a TV show but I have a feeling Nick and Ron share a lot of commonalities and view points. What those were exactly had me excited to listen to this audiobook. No way was I going to miss out on Nick Offerman’s verbal humour by reading the novel via paper!

The Concept:

Like most celebrity memoirs, this novel is a mix of life stories and life philosophies. It isn’t anything new or unexpected on that front.

The Writing / The Narration:

I love the way Nick Offerman delivers his sarcasm and wit. He’s a funny guy but also very intelligent. Like his character of Ron, he often delivers these unexpected nuggets of wisdom that just make you think.

However, I did find this novel excessively long. The audio version is close to 10 hours in length and I don’t want to listen to anyone for that long. 5 hours is my max for a memoir.

Did it Impact My Life?

I really liked how Nick reminds people to keep it simple in life. He’s blunt and straight-forward and I appreciated that a lot.

My Rating: 3.5/5

overall

While this was wayyyy too long for me, I did enjoy it. It definitely had its funny moments and it was exactly what I thought it was going to be. But if you don’t know who Nick Offerman is or enjoy celebrity memoirs, this most definitely isn’t for you. As Ron says:

Read if You Like: Parks and Rec, celebrity memoirs
Avoid if You: dislike long memoirs

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Single Sundays: No Pants Required by Kim Karr

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for No Pants Required (from Goodreads):
I, Makayla Alexander, am on a mission to reinvent myself. So when a super hot guy boards the plane and flashes his rock hard abs, I pay attention. When he sits next to me and offers me his nuts, I can’t resist. But when I choke on them and he tells me I need to work on my gag reflex, I realize I might be in over my head.

Before I know it we’re in the lavatory and attempting to join the Mile High Club. Let me just say this…anyone who tells you it’s easy to get it on at 37,000 feet isn’t telling you the truth. After the flight attendant busts us for getting frisky in the air, the only thing that can ease my total and complete mortification is the simple fact that I am never going to see him again.

Hours later, I can’t help but wonder if fate will ever allow me to become a new version of myself.

Because Fate, she’s a fickle bitch.

Case in point…my seatmate is my new next-door neighbor.

Even with the whole fate thing we have going on, we are so not meant to be together. He’s all cool and sexy in that make love not war kind of way. Guys like him are dangerous. With that bring-you-to-your-knees body, that handsome-as-hell face, and that dirty, dirty mouth, I guarantee one glance from him wets every girl’s bikini bottoms.

And then there’s me…the quirky girl looking to find herself in California. All I want to do is learn to let loose. Say words like peace and groovy. Bury my toes in the sand. Who knows, maybe even have sex on the beach.

Unable to get him out of my head, I entertain the thought of being more than just friends. I know the idea is absurd. And yet, I go with it. You see Camden Waters gets me. Really gets me. Like no other guy has before.

On this 7-mile stretch of paradise, I decide to keep things simple and just have fun…that is until fate decides to screw with me, again.

Can two people hell-bent on finding themselves realize the search should have ended the day they met? Find out in No Pants Required—a sexy, funny, romantic stand-alone, that will have you hurrying to grab your bathing suit and rushing to the beach to check out every lifeguard on duty.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Adult Fave 2016
Author: Kim Karr
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Heat Rating: Smokin’
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 11, 2016
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

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Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I stumbled upon this novel when Lauren @ Shooting Stars Mag did the cover reveal for it back in June. I’ll admit, the title is what caught my attention but I’ve had Kim Karr on my TBR for a long time with her Connections series.

This one sounded like a lot of fun and would make the perfect lighter read between novels. It has been a long time since I read a novel that was actually funny and I was hoping this one would break that streak.

The Plot:

Ok, I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time! If I hadn’t started it close to midnight, I would have finished it in one sitting.

This book had a fantastic balance between fun, drama, character development and romance. It hooked me in with its fun and HILARIOUS start–seriously, I was laughing out loud during those first few chapters–making me fall in love with the characters while getting a taste for their stories.

I liked that this story wasn’t filled with lots of dramatics. By keeping it simple, you get to focus on the characters and their growth. And the characters are really what make this story.

The Characters:

I was worried I wouldn’t like Mikayla because of the synopsis. I feared that she was going to be an airhead or something. A very silly concern because she was great! I loved her story and her personal growth throughout the novel. Plus, she was pretty funny. She was exactly what this story needed.

It was a real treat that we got Cam’s POV. I definitely thought this was going to be a Single POV story when I read the synopsis. But getting inside Cam’s head was fabulous. He was so funny and charming. Plus, he has a great story as well.

The Romance:

These two complimented each other so, so well! It’s insane how much I love these two together. They would just feed off each other and it was fantastic watching them fall in love.

I was worried that this was just going to be lots of sex but that isn’t really the case. It plays a huge role in the story but honestly, there is so much substance in everything else that those scenes are just a bonus.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

Honestly, this novel was so much fun! It’s everything I want in an entertaining New Adult novel! Highly recommended for those who like lighter but well constructed contemporary romance.

Read if You Like: humour, contemporary romance
Avoid if You: dislike new adult
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Fresh Fridays: Anything but Minor (Balls in Play #1) by Kate Stewart

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Balls in Play Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Anything but Minor (from Goodreads):
“She’s a nerd.”
“Heyyyy!”
“Okay, she’s a flight instructor.”
“Better.”
“He’s a ballplayer.”
“The best that ever was.”
“Technically, you aren’t according to MLB stats.”
“See? Total nerd. She also has no filter.”
“He’s no southern gentlemen.”
“I had one last season to prove my worth.”
“I’d never seen a game.”
“He told me he was a player.”
“She told me she was a lesbian.”
“But you fell in love with me anyway.”
“Yeah, baby, I totally did.”

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Series: Balls in Play
Author: Kate Stewart
# of Books: 1+ (Anything but Minor, Major Love)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Major Love, will be published November 2016
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: July 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I saw this when I was browsing Top Romance reads on Kindle Unlimited. I’ll admit, it was the cover that first drew me in but when I read the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to start this book! I added it at the last minute when I was finishing up my Kindle Unlimited Trial, throwing a wrench in my reading plans but excited to read a funny contemporary romance.

What I Liked:

–The Setting–

I really liked the sense of community this book created. When you meet all these characters and see their network, it made me excited to see what would happen to this crew in later books.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Insta-Love–

I couldn’t even tell you what these two liked about each other besides physical attraction. The romance just happened way too fast for me.

–It Just Bored Me–

Never have I contemplated DNFing a book more at the 50% mark than I have with this one. It’s a shame because this started so strong. I was chuckling along for the first 25% or so, getting used to the town and characters and then I just didn’t care anymore. Part of it was the insta-romance–I just wasn’t feeling these two together–but the other factor was the characters themselves.

Alice is quirky and I enjoyed that about her at the start. But then some of her traits just irked me. Like her inability to hold her bladder at certain times. Now, I’m not judging anyone who has bladder incontinence, but it was a little much for this story. And the humour started to die for me after that.

This story isn’t anything I haven’t read before and that just made it a little dull…

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Despite the fact that I really liked the people I met in this story, I just don’t really care to read what happens next. And I feel like things were semi-wrapped up in Anything but Minor so I’m OK with how things end.

My Rating: 2/5

Anything but Minor 2/5 | Major Love N/A

overall

This started strong but quickly bored me. If you haven’t read a lot of sports romances (or you really love them) this might be worth a read. Otherwise, if you don’t like quirky heroines, stay far away.

Read if You Like: quirky heroines, light romance, sports
Avoid if You: dislike sports
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Book Review: Play by Piper Lawson

Synopsis for PLAY (from Goodreads):
I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something girl living the dream.

OK. So it’s a big-ass lie.

I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.)

But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a little between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call.

Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, in an ‘are-you-in-a-band?’ way, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly.

None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day.

I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.

Game on, Max Donovan.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Must Read Author Favourite Author, Canadian Author
Author: Piper Lawson
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Humour
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 14, 2016
Source & Format: Xpresso Book Tours–eARC

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Piper Lawson has easily become a must read author for me this year after reading her Travesty Series and Chased. Not only is she Canadian (always a “win”) but she writes really, really great romances. Romances that have a fantastic balance between the romance and the story. Emphasis on the story–she writes great stories with great drama. Each novel is fresh and new and so, so enjoyable!

So, I think it’s a no brainer why I wanted to be a part of this blog tour. I love her work and I want others to enjoy it too!

The Plot:

There’s actually a plot!!! I’m all for hot and passionate romances, but I don’t enjoy full blown erotica or romances that only focus on the sex. This story has a great balance between the romance and the drama. It takes the time to establish the plot of the story which is Payton trying to work with Max as he seeks out a loan for his next gaming venture.

I definitely laughed, I definitely swooned and I definitely enjoyed watching everything unfold. It was great getting to know these characters and see their chemistry and romance grow as I read.

The Characters:

Payton was a lot of fun to read about. She is a solid character with a good heart, so it made it really easy to root for her. She definitely had me laughing at some of the things that she did…or had happened to her thanks to her BFF Charlie.

Can Charlie have her own novel please?

She was hilarious! The pranks she pulls on their co-worker Avery were awesome. No one is safe from her antics and that was great to read about.

Max…oh sweet Max. Never have I wanted to find my own gaming nerd with an eyebrow piercing. Seriously, does he exist somewhere and where can I find him? It was nice not having his POV to keep him as a bit of a mystery, only revealing pieces of him as Payton learned them. While alternating POVs are great, there’s just something about only being in one character’s mind at a time.

The Romance:

This is a slow burn romance done right! Everything builds at the right pace and reveals itself at just the right time. It has been a long time since I’ve read a solid romance novel and this is definitely one.

Like I said before, having Max as a bit of a mystery really helped aid the sexual chemistry and tension. These two were a great match and I like how you get to see that as the story progresses.

And don’t worry, there are plenty of steamy moments…even if they don’t litter every page 😉

My Rating: 5/5

I’ll be honest, I originally rated this book a 4 but as I wrote this review, I couldn’t think of a negative thing to say! And when I thought about it, I would totally read this novel again–which says a lot because I don’t often reread books or have the desire to do so. I blame my my sleepiness from shift work for getting in the way of my initial rating.

overall
This is a solid romance novel! It’s lighter and fun but still has a strong story and characters. Piper Lawson writes fantastic contemporary romances; whether they are adult or new adult, she nails them! She has definitely upgraded herself from a must read author to a favourite author. If you haven’t read a novel by her yet, I’m positive this one will make you a fan!

Read if You Like: slow burn romance, lighter contemporary stories
Avoid if You: don’t enjoy contemporary romances

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Piper Lawson
Join my Insiders list now for a steamy exclusive excerpt! ➜ http://eepurl.com/bNQmYT

I love reading and writing about sassy, sexy, smart women and the guys who fall hard for them. Schooled is the introduction to my Travesty series about ambitious girls who chase their dreams of a fashion label from California to New York and back again.

My main household expenditures include books, coffee and chocolate, not necessarily in that order. Coffee = life (and I’ll defend it accordingly). I have two business degrees, neither of which I’ve leveraged into a fashion label.

Home is Canada plus occasional sunny winter escapes. Come find me on the tennis court, at the beach, on the web at www.piperlawsonbooks.com or on twitter @piperjlawson.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

Add: Goodreads | Buy: Amazon

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Single Sundays: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (from Goodreads):
For fans of Tina Fey and David Sedaris—Internet star Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, makes her literary debut.

Jenny Lawson realized that the most mortifying moments of our lives—the ones we’d like to pretend never happened—are in fact the ones that define us. In the #1 New York Times bestseller, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson takes readers on a hilarious journey recalling her bizarre upbringing in rural Texas, her devastatingly awkward high school years, and her relationship with her long-suffering husband, Victor. Chapters include: “Stanley the Magical, Talking Squirrel”; “A Series of Angry Post-It Notes to My Husband”; “My Vagina Is Fine. Thanks for Asking”; “And Then I Snuck a Dead Cuban Alligator on an Airplane.” Pictures with captions (no one would believe these things without proof) accompany the text.

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Author: Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: April 17, 2012
Source & Format: Audible–eAudiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When this book first came out, it was everywhere for me and I’ll admit, I was curious. I mean, a mouse wearing Shakespeare garb? How funny is that? (Answer: very). So it seemed like a funny read but I never got around to reading it.

In the last year and a half, I’ve really gotten into nonfiction reads, especially humourous ones I can listen to as audiobooks. When I needed to spend my last Audible credit, I wanted a really good book that I couldn’t easily get from my library. Turns out, this book is still super popular and comes highly recommended so it seemed like a no-brainer.

The Concept:

In this memoir, Jenny walks you through her life from a young child right up to the current day (well, current 2012). It follows a mostly chronological order but she does throw in random tidbits here and there or goes on little tangents. Her life has had some very interesting events in it that are highly entertaining and perhaps a little unbelievable (I guess that’s where the “mostly true” part of the title comes into play).

What I really appreciate about Jenny’s approach is that she never shies away from anything. She is completely open about her various mental health events and I really respect that. It takes a lot of strength to be able to reflect upon that as an individual, but to share that with people who may not necessarily understand, I think it’s great. It isn’t a large focus of the book, but she does mention it enough that the reader is fully aware of the circumstances.

The Writing / Audio Experience:

I felt like this book has a great flow to it. It’s basically one highlight of her life at a time and her narration and outlook on certain events is hilarious. I appreciate her darker, often cynical humour but don’t think that is all she has to offer. She definitely has a great sense of humour that most readers will find funny.

My only “problem” with this book is that it is really long! It clocks in at close to 9 hours as an audio CD, which is a long time to listen to anyone speak. I would have been more than satisfied if it was a little shorter but I did enjoy the entire piece, even if I did get a little bored of it by the end.

Did it Impact My Life?

Not necessarily, but it did remind me to cherish my childhood and all the memories and experiences I had, even if they seemed crazy or out there.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

Honestly, I got a little bored near the end. I think fans of humourous memoirs will enjoy this. But if you like shorter audiobooks, maybe pick up a different one.

Read if You Like: memoirs, humour, female writers
Avoid if You: want a shorter audiobook
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Single Sundays: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Modern Romance (from Goodreads):
A hilarious, thoughtful, and in-depth exploration of the pleasures and perils of modern romance from one of this generation’s sharpest comedic voices

At some point, every one of us embarks on a journey to find love. We meet people, date, get into and out of relationships, all with the hope of finding someone with whom we share a deep connection. This seems standard now, but it’s wildly different from what people did even just decades ago. Single people today have more romantic options than at any point in human history. With technology, our abilities to connect with and sort through these options are staggering. So why are so many people frustrated?

Some of our problems are unique to our time. “Why did this guy just text me an emoji of a pizza?” “Should I go out with this girl even though she listed Combos as one of her favorite snack foods? Combos?!” “My girlfriend just got a message from some dude named Nathan. Who’s Nathan? Did he just send her a photo of his penis? Should I check just to be sure?”

But the transformation of our romantic lives can’t be explained by technology alone. In a short period of time, the whole culture of finding love has changed dramatically. A few decades ago, people would find a decent person who lived in their neighborhood. Their families would meet and, after deciding neither party seemed like a murderer, they would get married and soon have a kid, all by the time they were twenty-four. Today, people marry later than ever and spend years of their lives on a quest to find the perfect person, a soul mate.

For years, Aziz Ansari has been aiming his comic insight at modern romance, but for Modern Romance, the book, he decided he needed to take things to another level. He teamed up with NYU sociologist Eric Klinenberg and designed a massive research project, including hundreds of interviews and focus groups conducted everywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires to Wichita. They analyzed behavioral data and surveys and created their own online research forum on Reddit, which drew thousands of messages. They enlisted the world’s leading social scientists, including Andrew Cherlin, Eli Finkel, Helen Fisher, Sheena Iyengar, Barry Schwartz, Sherry Turkle, and Robb Willer. The result is unlike any social science or humor book we’ve seen before.

In Modern Romance, Ansari combines his irreverent humor with cutting-edge social science to give us an unforgettable tour of our new romantic world.

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Nonfiction 2016
Author: Aziz Ansari
Genre: Nonfiction, Humour, Romance, Sociology
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person
Publication Date: June 16, 2015
Source & Format: Audible–Audiobook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

In the past, I’ve watched a few of Aziz’s stand-up routines and loved to hate his character Tom on Parks and Rec. I found out about his book when he did an interview on the Daily Show explaining its premise and his motivation to do it. He could have gone the traditional routes of writing a book that most comedians do but instead, he decided to look at a serious social question: why is love so hard to find in this modern age? A question that has always been of interest to me.Tom Haverford Parks And Rec Quotes. QuotesGram

So while I was curious to learn more about the modern predicaments of love, I also wanted to try listening to an audiobook that wasn’t particularly a celebrity memoir. I wanted to see if I could handle reading a book that was more fact based than personal biography. Would it capture my attention or would it make me feel like I was sitting through a lecture at school? While I didn’t think the latter would be possible with someone like Aziz narrating the story, it was more a question of the content than the author for me.

The Concept:

I find it fascinating when you look at the stats: divorce rates are up, people are staying single longer, many relationships start online and so many other interesting observations when it comes to modern romance. The dating world today is vastly different from what it was 30 years ago–to even 10 years ago!

What I really liked about Aziz’s book was that it explored all of these facts in one way or another. He tackles a little bit of everything, from online dating to lower birth rates in Japan, using his own personal experience as well as the evidence of various studies and focus groups. And he pretty much attempts to answer every question you have on why romantic relationships have evolved in the way that they have.

The Writing / Narration:

This book had a great flow to it. It starts on a more personal note but eventually progresses to more objective views on everything, with Aziz giving little humourous tidbits along the way. It was very easy to listen too for that reason. I felt like each chapter built on the previous and it felt like I was on the journey with Aziz as he attempted to tackle these questions himself.

Aziz isn’t just spouting out random facts or endlessly listing them either–which would make this book boring. Instead of listening through a lecture, I felt like I was listening to a story unfold. So it kept my attention throughout.

Did it Impact My Life?

I learned quite a bit actually from this book. There were some really interesting studies that will probably stick with me for quite a while: like why having more options can be detrimental or why people prefer to text. I also think it made me evaluate my own stance on romance when it comes to my personal life. Not in a huge, life-changing way, but I think it reminded me to remain open and to not let my preconceptions get in the way of potential relationships. Relationships don’t have to be set in stone nor do they have to follow a predetermined path and this book was good at reminding me of that.

My Rating: 4/5

overall

If you like reading about sociology or insights on modern culture but find non-fiction reads to be dry, I highly recommend this book! It was fresh, fun and very easy to follow. I think I would have enjoyed the printed book just as much as the audio–but if you are a fan of Aziz, I recommend the audio book.

Read if You Like: sociology, humour, lighter nonfiction
Avoid if You: want a sociology book with no humour

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Fresh Fridays: Starflight (#1) by Melissa Landers

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Starflight Series

Other books in the series:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Starflight (from Goodreads):
Life in the outer realm is a lawless, dirty, hard existence, and Solara Brooks is hungry for it. Just out of the orphanage, she needs a fresh start in a place where nobody cares about the engine grease beneath her fingernails or the felony tattoos across her knuckles. She’s so desperate to reach the realm that she’s willing to indenture herself to Doran Spaulding, the rich and popular quarterback who made her life miserable all through high school, in exchange for passage aboard the spaceliner Zenith.

When a twist of fate lands them instead on the Banshee, a vessel of dubious repute, Doran learns he’s been framed on Earth for conspiracy. As he pursues a set of mysterious coordinates rumored to hold the key to clearing his name, he and Solara must get past their enmity to work together and evade those out for their arrest. Life on the Banshee may be tumultuous, but as Solara and Doran are forced to question everything they once believed about their world—and each other—the ship becomes home, and the eccentric crew family. But what Solara and Doran discover on the mysterious Planet X has the power to not only alter their lives, but the existence of everyone in the universe…

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SERIESous’ Top Picks: New Must Read Author
Series: Starflight
Author: Melissa Landers
# of Books: 2 (Starflight, Starfall)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Starfall, will be published in February 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Adventure, Romance, Humour
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I finished Melissa Lander’s series Alienated last year (though it technically isn’t “finished”–she is writing a new sequel to it), I immediately looked up what else she had written. Alienated was her debut, and it was a strong one at that. It was witty, smart, fun and had its touching moments too. And so, I was eager to read another novel by her.

So I’ve been waiting a YEAR to read Starflight. I tried to keep my expectations low but I was super, super excited to dive into this one.

What I Liked:

–The World–

I love Science Fiction stories though I rarely read them. This world was just so great! It wasn’t overly complicated so it was super easy to follow. I never felt overwhelmed and everything is clearly explained. It was great to seamlessly fall into a story (especially with some of the other books I had been reading at the time).

–The Banter–

Man, Melissa Landers writes the best banter between her characters. They have me laughing and reading with a huge smile on my face. The one liners in this novel are FANTASTIC!

–The Plot–

Normally, I’m not a huge adventure fan but this one had my attention from the get-go. It helps that the cast of characters is so intriguing and you can’t help but love them. Solara was such a smart heroine and I loved how she approached problems and handled them. Doran was also amazing and I easily fell in love with him. But even the side characters were great. They have such interesting pasts that you makes you want to know more.

As for the actual plot, it had just enough to it to keep the plot moving but not so much that it was overwhelming. I loved everything this ragtag group encountered. Their journey reminded me of something that would happen on Cowboy Bebop so I didn’t mind in the slightest.

What I Didn’t Like:

–No Complaints Here–

Honestly, I loved this book! It was everything I wanted it to be. I was worried that this was going to be like Illuminae but it was so different so don’t worry about that at all.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

After reading the synopsis for Starfall, I am super excited. I like that it is a chronological sequel but focuses on two different characters. It’s going to be so much fun!

My Rating: 5/5

Starflight 5/5 | Starfall TBP

overall

If you love fun Science Fiction adventure stories, this is for you! It’s smart, fast-paced and fun. It’s a blast from start to finish. Melissa Landers is one of my new “must read” authors and I highly recommend this one!

Read if You Like: science fiction, world-building, witty stories
Avoid if You: dislike adventure, want a more romance focused story

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Single Sundays: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Why Not Me? (from Goodreads):

In Why Not Me?, Kaling shares her ongoing journey to find contentment and excitement in her adult life, whether it’s falling in love at work, seeking new friendships in lonely places, attempting to be the first person in history to lose weight without any behavior modification whatsoever, or most important, believing that you have a place in Hollywood when you’re constantly reminded that no one looks like you.

In “How to Look Spectacular: A Starlet’s Confessions,” Kaling gives her tongue-in-cheek secrets for surefire on-camera beauty, (“Your natural hair color may be appropriate for your skin tone, but this isn’t the land of appropriate–this is Hollywood, baby. Out here, a dark-skinned woman’s traditional hair color is honey blonde.”) “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model. And now they had matching bangs.”) In “Unlikely Leading Lady,” she muses on America’s fixation with the weight of actresses, (“Most women we see onscreen are either so thin that they’re walking clavicles or so huge that their only scenes involve them breaking furniture.”) And in “Soup Snakes,” Kaling spills some secrets on her relationship with her ex-boyfriend and close friend, B.J. Novak (“I will freely admit: my relationship with B.J. Novak is weird as hell.”)

Mindy turns the anxieties, the glamour, and the celebrations of her second coming-of-age into a laugh-out-loud funny collection of essays that anyone who’s ever been at a turning point in their life or career can relate to. And those who’ve never been at a turning point can skip to the parts where she talks about meeting Bradley Cooper.

breakdown

Author: Mindy Kaling
Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humour
Heat Rating: N/A
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Source & Format: Own–Audiobook | This was a giveaway gift from the awesome Tonya @ Lilybloombooks

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I won Tonya’s audiobook twitter giveaway, I struggled to come up with a book to pick. But when I looked at where I was on the hold list for Mindy’s Why Not Me?, I decided that it would be a great choice (I was VERY far down on the hold list and really wanted to read it sometime in the near future).

I really enjoyed my second attempt at reading Mindy’s first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me when I read it as an audiobook. So I was ready to be thoroughly entertained as I listened to this latest one.

The Concept:

In this book, Mindy gets a touch more personal in terms of what she writes about. While her previous book chronicled her life and professional past, this one gets a touch more philosophical shall we say. Meaning it’s a lot of Mindy sharing her thoughts on everything from weddings to dating to life in general. Which is fine and all but it isn’t as exciting or as fun as it could be.

Don’t get me wrong, I like this serious side of one of my favourite comedians. It really grounds her and makes you realize that celebrities are just like us despite their day job. I love that humanizing aspect that this book provides. Sure, at first it seems like Mindy is complaining about her life despite the fact that she lives better than the average person. But at the same time, as you listen to her story and thoughts, you realize she is just a person like the rest of us.

However, I felt like I was in the same position I was in with Amy Poehler’s book Yes Please!–I don’t want to listen to someone’s philosophy on life for 6 hours. I don’t find it entertaining, especially when I picked up a book expecting to laugh out loud throughout it. So while I appreciate the fact that Mindy is strong enough to share her insecurities and views on life with the world, I did get a little bored listening to it all.

The Writing/Narration:

I definitely didn’t laugh as much as I did in her previous book but that is ok. I appreciated seeing this alternate view to the Mindy I have in my head (who is this weird mash-up of all her characters that I have seen her play as well as her genuine self).

Her writing has a great flow and I love the way she narrates it. It is so much better than reading the words on a piece of paper because the tone gives so much more to the meaning she is trying to get across.

Did it Impact My Life?

Not really. I still want to be her BFF (even though she talks about the fact that she doesn’t understand why people always say that in her book).

My Rating: 4/5

overall

While not as funny as her first book, Mindy gives a solid effort in this book and it is entertaining nonetheless. Highly recommended for fans of Mindy Kaling.

Read if You Like: Mindy Kaling, celebrity views on life
Avoid if You: dislike Mindy Kaling (we can’t be friends anymore 😉 ), dislike memoirs

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