Friday, June 26, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf - Mini Reviews!

This month I've made a nice little dent in my Summer reading (even though the official first day of Summer was only a few days ago, but you get the idea). So far I've finished four books this month...which isn't a lot for some people, but for someone as busy and slow-reading as me it really feels like I'm on a roll. Anyway! Today I'm writing about two different books I read that I want to share with you! I wanted to write about them individually, but lately I'm having trouble finding time to write, and I just didn't want to wait that long to write about 'em! So here we go!


The first book I'm going to share is called Confidence: the Diary of an Invisible Girl, written by badass geek girl, Paige Lavoie. I "met" Paige in the Female Geek Bloggers group I participate in! The book reads as the diary of quiet, uber nerd Barbara (after Barbara Gordon, AKA Batgirl), who just wants to make it through high school without being too awkward. The journal style reminded me of the Amelia's Notebook series which I used to read ALL THE TIME. When Barbara literally runs into Cassie, the popular, geek-chic, queen of the AV club, they slowly become friends. Barbara is used to being a loner, but with her new pal she starts to come out of her shell while exploring various branches of fandom and making crazy new friends.

I think most girls will find a bit of Barbara in them ;) At first I was hesitant to read another YA novel, but Barb is so likable and relatable it's hard not to cheer her on. She's also a boss Rainbow Road in Mario Kart, so mad props to her. Confidence is a fun, lighthearted read, and with it's subtle geek humor thrown in made me audibly giggle more than once.

Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl 

Title: Confidence: The Diary of an Invisible Girl
Author: Paige Lavoie
Genre: Young Adult
Published + Publisher: Independently published on June 9th, 2015
Pages: 254 pages (e-book)
Source: ARC courtesy of Paige Lavoie. Thanks girl! :) Grab your own copy on Amazon and don't forget to add it on Goodreads ;)
________

Next I want to talk about Lifestyles of the Rich and (In)famous, by Tierney Fowler. Think of it as a combination of Gossip Girl meets a Meg Cabot novel, and throw in a rock band for some extra fun. Our story opens with Nyx, recently out of high school, secretly in love with a brooding bass player, and not really sure where she's going in life. Her best friends make up the underground band Crashbang, who I imagined as something like Fall Out Boy circa 2005, but feel free to get creative with your choice. When Nyx unknowingly plays a significant role in getting the band signed with a huge label, things take an unexpected turn and she becomes an overnight sensation. It also has a few Zoolander references which is always a bonus.

Lifestyles isn't the type of book I normally read, but it was fast paced and really fun. You know how some books get a little dull halfway through, but you force yourself to keep reading because you need to know how it ends? Not the case here. It was just one thing after another, really keeping me sucked into the story - and before I knew it, it was over. While most of the book is written from the perspective of Nyx, there are various chapters throughout told from the perspective of other characters. I love when books are written like that, because I think it's interesting to hear another side of the story and to learn about characters in a different light. I can see this book being the start of a cool series, following Nyx along on her crazy adventures! Maybe someday? ;)

Lifestyles of the Rich and (In)famous

Title: Lifestyles of the Rich and (In)famous
Author: Tierney Fowler
Genre: New Adult
Published + Publisher: August 19th, 2014 by Spencer Hill Contemporary
Pages: 296 (e-book)
Source: Courtesy of the wonderful author :) Grab a copy on Amazon, and be sure to add it on Goodreads!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Tales From the Bookshelf - Go Ahead & Like It

I've always loved making lists. I don't even know what it is about it. Do I have more than three things to do today? Make a list (my memory isn't great). Going shopping? Well obvioously you need a list. Or maybe I'm just bored, then let's make a list of my top 10 favorite horror movies...or something. Basically there's almost always a perfectly good reason to make a list, which is why I was instantly intrigued by Jacqueline Suskin's Go Ahead & Like It!

Go Ahead and Like It

This scrapbook-style art book is an invitation to write lists of things you like: small things that bring delight, intriguing things that excite, and meaningful things that make every day special. It’s a how-to guide, writing prompt, model for self-discovery, and beautiful inspiration for daily gratitude, with poet Jacqueline Suskin’s personal lists intertwined with photographs, illustrations, and instruction. It’s a self-help book for people who might not be drawn to standard self-help, and it’s creative thinking for people who might not identify themselves as creative thinkers (What does it mean to “like” something in today’s digital age, anyways?). Above all, it presents a simple, dependable method to notice the good that’s all around us–even in a traffic jam or waiting in line–so we can inhabit our world more fully and smile more in the process. - from Penguin Random House

I like that the author describes list making as kind of a therapeutic activity. With many of her own lists sprinkled throughout the book, she often mentions that things don't have to be big or important for you to like them or make you happy.

Go Ahead and Like It

I also enjoyed the scrapbooky pictures in lieu of conventional illustrations. The quality of the book is really nice, with thick, matte pages. It almost feels like you're reading her personal list making journal! Sneaky, sneaky.

Since reading this book I was inspired to write a few random "like" lists of my own. In the book Suskin urges you to simply write the first things that come to mind, no matter how simple they might be, so that's what I did! Here's a list I wrote when I had nothing to do at work one night:

I like:
- Having books to read while waiting in line
- Really big water bottles
- Legoland
- Mechanical pencils
- Shakespearean retellings

...and another after a long day running errands:

I like:
- Action movies (Have you seen Mad Max yet? SO CRAZY.)
- Peppermint tea
- Apple slicers
- Finding cheap Steve Madden wedges on Poshmark (I'm going through a shoes phase)
- Colorful washi tape

The author also runs a cute tumblr blog, where you can submit your own list of likes to share with everyone! To keep in line with the feel of the book, you can physically mail in your list for them to scan and add to the site. Or if you prefer you can simply submit your list online. Whichever. It's about things we LIKE doing, after all. Hahah.

Run down -
Title: Go Ahead & Like It
Author: Jacqueline Suskin
Published + Publisher: April 28th, 2015, by Ten Speed Press
Pages: Hardcover, 72 pages
Source: I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books! All opinions and list making are my own ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

June Read Play Blog!

Read Play Blog
Read Play Blog is a meme about video games and books, posted every 16th of the month. Bloggers are encouraged to answer a discussion question, recommend a video game that they like, and share what they're currently playing. Hosted by Happy Indulgence Books & Read Me Away!

Read Play Blog is back for another month of gaming! This months question is: Which video game would you want to live in or be the main character of?

Lego Island 2

As cool as I think it'd be to live in some crazy action game (I'm thinking Dynasty Warriors, all those costumes!) I picked a game a little more fun and chill. And with LEGO's because obviously. On Lego Island everyone's friendly and cool and the pizza delivery guy Pepper Roni will bring you free pizza. Just watch out for that shady Brickster dude.

Recommendation: My Garbage Cat Wakes Me Up at 3am Every Day

Garbage Cat

I learned about this game last week from Mariko at Gamerwife! It's a cute little game where you play as "Garbage Cat," and basically you just meow, knead your paws and knock shit over until your owner wakes up! You can play it for free online right here.

Currently Playing: Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm

I've written about it like five times already, but it is what it is <3 Malfurion is my fav. I've learned I really like playing the healer!


Friday, June 12, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf - Afterlife with Archie Book 1, Escape from Riverdale


I think Archie was the first comic book series I read (that or Inuyasha if you want to count manga, I can't remember for sure). Archie and friends have been around for so long that I'm sure lots of other people will say the same. They're classic ;) I think it's hilarious that each issue runs more or less the same but with different tidbits thrown in (like a mad lib, hahah) yet we all still love 'em anyway. Betty and Veronica constantly try to one-up each other and fight over Archie, Archie's kind of a doofus and oblivious to everything, Jughead's in search of food and Reggie's running around being a jerk. That's why when I first heard about the new Afterlife with Archie series I was instantly intrigued. How would this sort of formula mix in with a story about zombies? Or maybe it wouldn't? With entirely new art and direction, I couldn't wait to see how it would turn out. Since I don't really like reading single comic book issues (in the past I would buy the digests), I painstakingly waited until the first volume of the book came out, Afterlife with Archie Book 1: Escape from Riverdale. It includes issues 1 through 5. I'm SO glad I was finally able to start reading this, because I'm now ridiculously obsessed with it. I can't wait for book two! As in I literally might not be able to wait and might have to track down the single issues somewhere.

Afterlife with Archie
Various panels from the book! Also FYI good friends don't spoil book endings, HOW DARE YOU.

Our story begins with Jughead, when his dog Hot Dog is run over by a car in the middle of the night. Jughead rushes Hot Dog over to Sabrina's house, hoping she can save him (you know, because she's a teenage witch). If you've seen anything dealing with witchcraft then you already know that bringing back the dead is never a good idea, so Sabrina and her aunts sadly decline Jughead's request. Sabrina and Jughead bury Hot Dog in the backyard, and after seeing how distraught he his, Sabrina decides to meddle with some darker magic, trying to bring Hot Dog back. Which kind of worked, except not really, because now Hot Dog's a vicious zombie.

I was really surprised with how well-written the characters are. They still have their same characteristics, but with more depth and in a more realistic way . For example Betty and Veronica still fight over Archie, but it's not fun and games anymore. It's actually pretty hostile...I mean who stays best friends with the girl who's trying to steal your man? If you're looking for the classic happy go lucky Archie and friends comics, look elsewhere. Afterlife with Archie gets really dark, really fast...and it's kinda awesome.

Run down:
Title:
Afterlife with Archie Book 1: Escape from Riverdale
Author: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Writer), Francesco Francavilla (Illustrations)
Published + Publisher: May 13th, 2015 by Archie Comics
Pages: 160 pages, paperback
Source: Library!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tales From the Bookshelf: Manhattan Mayhem

Good morning, friends! This month I read Manhattan Mayhem, edited by Mary Higgins Clark and presented by The Mystery Writers of America to celebrate their 70th anniversary! It's an anthology of new crime and mystery stories, written by various authors from The Mystery Writers of America. I don't remember that last time I read a book of short stories, so it was exciting to read something different!

How perfectly mysterious is this book cover?

Each story takes place in a different neighborhood in Manhattan, including pictures and a little map from each location to supplement your little tour. I've never been to Manhattan (or anywhere in New York) so while reading the stories it was fun to learn more about the city in an interesting way. Here's an example of the layout! The second story in the book is called White Rabbit, by Julie Hyzy. It takes place in Central Park, in front of a giant Alice in Wonderland statue that's inside it.

A questionable face.

I loved that the stories, while all having the same crime/mystery theme, were still very different from each other. One of my favorites is called Trapped! A Mystery in One Act, by Ben H. Winters. It's about a theatre company and is written in the form of a play script!

Overall I really enjoyed this book! Aside from the amazing contents inside, the outside presentation of the book is really impressive, too. The hardback cover is also a map of Manhattan, pinpointing where each story takes place!

There's Hell's Kitchen in the top left corner. Not only the name of a badass cooking show, but home of Matt Murdock, aka The Man in Black, aka DAREDEVIL.


Run down:
Title:
Manhattan Mayhem
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Published + Publisher: June 2nd, 2015 by Quirk Books
Pages: Hardcover, 320 pages.
Source: Courtesy of Quirk Books for reviewing purposes! Thank you so much!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Currently...


I forgot to do one of these last month! Wow, I'm lame. Oh well. Happy June! Can you believe it's almost Summer?! Ugh. Alright, so let's do some catching up. This months post is lacking in pictures a bit, sorry! My computer has been a little buggy today. I was trying to make the collages I normally do for these posts, but just got frustrated and gave up ;_;

Reading - Because I didn't write enough about books recently? Hahah. Right now I'm reading Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America, edited by Mary Higgins Clark. It's a book of short stories, which isn't something I normally read, but I'm having SO much fun reading this. Every story ends with a badass twist. Each writer picked a different part of Manhattan for their story to take place and before each story there's a cool photo from each location, so at the same time I feel like I'm taking a little tour of Manhattan. I can't wait to finish this book and share a full review with you!

Watching - As someone that works in theatre, people are always surprised that I haven't seen the cultural phenomenon that is GLEE. So a couple weeks back I finally decided to give it a shot. And I have to say...it's kinda awful. I mean, the songs are fun (I especially enjoy the mashups), but most of the characters are jerks and I don't really care what happens to them either way. Rachel's a jerk...Finn's a jerk...Quinn's a jerk...obviously Sue's a jerk...even Artie's kinda a jerk sometimes. I think I'm only still watching because I like watching Kurt and Blaine (mostly Blaine).

The entire Glee club trying to deal with Rachel's BS.

Listening - Lately I've found myself listening to the Wiz Khalifa album Rolling Papers alot. Which is kind of weird because for the most part I've never been a huge Wiz Khalifa fan, but whatever. #FeelinIt. It's probably because I like to pretend I'm more gangsta than I really am.

Playing - Not much to say on this topic because when I do have time to game, I'm still playing Heroes of the Storm WAY HARD. Which is exactly what I said last time. So yeah. Any Monster Hunter fans here? I've been thinking of trying to get into that, too. Problem is, since I do most of my gaming on PC I don't have any of the newer consoles. I have a PS2, Xbox 360 and a DSi. So maybe I'll just wait until I get a 3DS someday...or something. I don't knooow!

Working on - Honestly my main thing right now is just trying to get a lot of reading done. I have so many books that I've started and haven't finished yet. Like, I'm in the middle of five different books right now. Hahah.

Loving - The other day I read book one (so issues #1-5) of Afterlife with Archie, and it was amaaazing! So great. I've been reading Archie comics for years and years, but I think this series will appeal to people that aren't even a fan of the original series. It's crazy different and has an entirely new feel. I can't wait to read more of the series and I can't stop thinking about it! When I get a chance I'll be writing a full review for sure!

...and here's s few pictures from May! The only collage I was able to hammer out before my computer started being rude. Now I'm off to get some reading done!

1. Drinking my first midori sour (it was great) at this crazy event called HOODSLAM! / 2. I won a giveaway from one of my favorite bloggers ever, Twinkie Chan! #Swoon / 3. I got to watch one of my oldest and best friends graduate from college! By the time the ceremony was over the lighting wasn't the best, hahah. / 4. Afterlife with Archie!!!