Review: Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Genre: Memoir
Publication: 09/15/2015 by Crown Archetype
Pages: 228 Pages
Source: Overdrive Audiobook
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Goodreads Summary:
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 “Player” tells the story of Kaling being seduced and dumped by a female friend in L.A. (“I had been replaced by a younger model.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.

My Thoughts: 
I love Mindy Kaling and her books are always really fun to listen to. I always listen to her books on audiobook because hearing her stories in her voice makes the reading experience 100 times better. I really connect with Mindy and I love her outlook on the world. She freely admits she isn't perfect which is something that's awesome for other girls to see. Just because you are on TV doesn't make you perfect by any means and Mindy definitely tells it like it is. 

One thing about this book is that it is very similar to her first book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?". They could easily have been the same book and I wouldn't have known the difference. However, I don't mind listening to more Mindy. The stories in this book are very typical of a comedy writers book. It's similar to Amy Poehler's and Tina Fey's, which is probably because they are all female comedy writers/actors. 

Why Not Me? is certainly a funny book and if your a Mindy Kaling fan, I suggest you check this one out. I really enjoyed listening to it and found myself giggling in public again. 2 thumbs up. 

Review: Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Genre: Non-fiction
Publication: 06/15/2015 by Penguin Press
Pages: 277 Pages
Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
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Goodreads Summary
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.

My Thoughts:
I am a Parks and Recreation fan so naturally I needed to pick up this book. I may be biased but I loved it. I listened to it on audio which is the only way that I read memoirs. I absolutely love when someone reads me their own story, especially when they are hilarious like Aziz. 

I am really interested in relationships and I loved the academic approach to this book. In addition, Aziz's insights on relationships were on point and hilarious. I am apart of the generation where dating seems to have changed so drastically. However, I've missed the online dating obsession because I've been in a relationship since Tinder has been popular. My favourite part of the book was that it was still hopeful about this generations take on love. Aziz could have easily taken the popular opinion and have been very cynical about relationships. He addresses the fact that there are cons in our quest for love but there were also cons in relationships in the past. 

I honestly loved this book and if you are interested in relationships I highly recommend. It doesn't matter if your single, dating or married I think there is something for everyone. Modern Romance gives hope that technology isn't the end of romance and it can actually help to bring us together. 

Take Control of Your TBR Challenge Sign Up

I decided to join the TBR Challenge recently because my TBR pile is getting out of control and I am addicted to the library. The rules are simple, read or listen to any book on your TBR. You can find the full rules and sign up here. This challenges takes place all of March, I am very excited. Let's do this. 

I will be thinking about TBR for the next few weeks. You can check out my Goodreads shelf for potential picks, I'll also post an official TBR closer to the end of February. I hope you join in and let me know what you plan on reading in March.

Pull List - 02/10/2015

Recently, I have wanted to get into reading more comics and I was looking around for the best way to do it. For me, I decided I was going to read single issues digitally on the app ComiXology. I am very new to this world, so I haven't decided how or if I am going to review single issues but I will keep up with my sort and sweet trade/graphic novel reviews. Now on to the books I picked up this week:

Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur #1 

I picked up a back issue of this book because it seems right up my alley. A girl with a T-Rex friend, that sounds absolutely awesome. I am excited to read this soon. Maybe right after I am done this post...

Rocket Raccoon and Groot #1

Rocket Raccoon and Groot are some of my all time favourite comic book characters so when I saw this book come out I was like yes please. I also really want to read Groot's stand alone series, but I'll get to it eventually. 

Obi-Wan & Anakin #2 

I love Star Wars, so I could pass up these books. They follow Obi-Wan and Anakin before the movie Attack of the Clones. It's really interesting to see, especially if you are not a fan of the prequel movies. This series can give you some more insight into Anakin before he became Darth Vader.

Kennel Block Blues #1

This seems a bit strange but it's about dogs going to prison. Is this a weird metaphor for kill shelters, I don't know. But I have heard it's awesome and I love dogs so that just sounds awesome. 

Review: Seed by Lisa Heathfield

Genre: Contemporary, YA
Publication: 03/10/2015 by Running Press Kids
Pages: 336 Pages
Source: Library Hardback
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
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Goodreads Summary
All that Pearl knows can be encapsulated in one word: Seed. It is the isolated community that she was born into. It is the land that she sows and reaps. It is the center of her family and everything that means home. And it is all kept under the watchful eye of Papa S.

At fifteen years old, Pearl is finally old enough to be chosen as Papa S’s companion. She feels excitement... and surprising trepidation that she cannot explain. The arrival of a new family into the Seed community — particularly the teenage son, Ellis — only complicates the life and lifestyle that Pearl has depended upon as safe and constant. 

Ellis is compelling, charming, and worldly, and he seems to have a lot of answers to questions Pearl has never thought to ask. But as Pearl digs to the roots of the truth, only she can decide what she will allow to come to the surface.

My Thoughts:
This book kind of bored me. I picked this up because I find cults extremely interesting and this seemed up my ally. However, it never grabbed me and I considered putting it down a few times. I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the story progressed really slowly. It wasn't a bad story by any means. It had some good aspects and a good build up that was quite unsettling at times. 

I also found that the ending was very rushed. The conclusion was only about 15-20 pages long and I wanted so much more. The ending was also kind of opened ended and I wish we had a little about what happened after these events. Especially since the characters were so sheltered/brainwashed by this cult. Another thing that I wished happened was that Pearl, the main character, would have showed more character growth quicker. It look a long time for her to even question their way of life. I understand that in these situations that it's extremely difficult to question what's going on but in the book I wanted to see her thought process more.

All in all, this wasn't a terrible book but I just wasn't hooked. It took more over a week to read this, even though it isn't a very long book and the margins are HUGE. If you are really into YA fiction and you want a kind of dark contemporary, check this one out.

Review: Brian on Fire - My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan

Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir
Publication: 11/13/2012 by Free Press
Pages: 261 Pages
Source: Library Audiobook
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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Goodreads Summary: 
A gripping memoir and medical suspense story about a young New York Post reporter’s struggle with a rare and terrifying disease, opening a new window into the fascinating world of brain science.

One day, Susannah Cahalan woke up in a strange hospital room, strapped to her bed, under guard, and unable to move or speak. Her medical records—from a month-long hospital stay of which she had no memory—showed psychosis, violence, and dangerous instability. Yet, only weeks earlier she had been a healthy, ambitious twenty-four year old, six months into her first serious relationship and a sparkling career as a cub reporter. 

Susannah’s astonishing memoir chronicles the swift path of her illness and the lucky, last-minute intervention led by one of the few doctors capable of saving her life. As weeks ticked by and Susannah moved inexplicably from violence to catatonia, $1 million worth of blood tests and brain scans revealed nothing. The exhausted doctors were ready to commit her to the psychiatric ward, in effect condemning her to a lifetime of institutions, or death, until Dr. Souhel Najjar—nicknamed Dr. House—joined her team. He asked Susannah to draw one simple sketch, which became key to diagnosing her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease in which her body was attacking her brain, an illness now thought to be the cause of “demonic possessions” throughout history. 

With sharp reporting drawn from hospital records, scientific research, and interviews with doctors and family, Brain on Fire is a crackling mystery and an unflinching, gripping personal story that marks the debut of an extraordinary writer.

My Thoughts:
I have had this book on my Goodreads TBR list for years. I am a Biology and Psychology student so this book was right up my alley. It's a story that really makes you think about your health and how to approach it. Not every medical case is cut and dry so it's interesting to see the approach they took with Susannah. It really makes you want to take your health into your own hands and not take the first possible diagnosis as truth. Sometimes you need a second opinion and sometimes you need to explore other options. 

Susannah's story is scary. It's so easy to put yourself in her shoes and think "what if this happened to me?". Luckily for her, she had a good support and eventually a doctor who would give her personalized care to determine her diagnosis. I found this story to be very well written and it felt like you were reading a fictional novel instead of a memoir. If you are into medical mysteries or mental illness, I suggest you check this one out. It's a very accessible nonfiction and I think everyone could take something away from it.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publication: 05/07/2012 by Bloomsbury
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Pages: 404 Pages
Source: Library Paperback
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Goodreads Summary:
After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts:
I was honestly very surprised by this book. I went into it knowing the hype around the series and I thought that I was just going to think it was mediocre. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I was really enjoying reading this book.  I understand where people were coming from when they say they love it because it's definitely a fun read. 

I really enjoyed Celaena, she didn't have your typical assassin tropes which was awesome. She could be badass and a girl all at the same time. She made reasonable decision and you can understand where she was coming from. I really enjoyed how she approached the romance aspect, she was realistic and I applaud her for it. 

I am very excited to see where this story goes, because I am so late in the game I know there are so many twists and turns ahead of me. That's what interested me most while reading this first book, I kept thinking about how different the story could end up in the future. I am excited to continue on and experience this world deeper.