Review: Mindy Kaling's second biography was written during her run on The Mindy Project. Mindy talks about college and fitting in, writing, her show, her relationships, sex scenes, script ideas, the fakeness of Hollywood, and the importance of being a role model. She is always funny, but also truthful, insightful, and not scared to reveal herself to the world (or a little scared, but doing it anyway).
I absolutely love Mindy Kaling. She is unflinchingly honest about her normal body type and how Hollywood classifies it as overweight. She is also candid about questions she is asked by reporters, which would never be asked of male celebrities (the dumbest stuff), or their remarks about her eating while they interview her (again, not something they would ever bring up with a male celebrity). I laughed quite a few times (out loud) as she talked about friendship, loneliness, working out, and the pangs of mixed message relationships.
Review: Ivy, a Private Investigator, is called in to investigate a mysterious death at a school for magic. Ivy must navigate a world she does not belong to, one she despises since her sister, Tabitha, was accepted and she was not. Add to the mix a teen who believes he is the "chosen one" from an old prophecy, a cute teacher who keeps distracting Ivy from her work, and a group of powerful mean girls.
This was a fun mix of noir and fantasy. Placing the chosen one trope inside a murder mystery, slowly pulling each genre apart. Having a non-magical investigator try to understand a world that lead to a grizzly death, one who has never before dealt with a murder case, was genius. An investigator who is keen to prove herself, while imagining what life would have been like if she had been the "magical" sister. A combination that works to uproot both genres and push boundaries.
Review: A northern Anishinaabe community is startled when their power goes out. Fortunately, they have back up generators, having only been connected to the grid some years past. As days pass, it becomes more apparent that something has gone terribly wrong. The community must work together to combat hunger, fear, and travelling outsiders looking for a new home (or who hope to dominate this new world).
Evan Whitesky works with the tribal council to clear the roads of snow, assist the tribe elders, and maintain order. This job becomes more important as chaos slowly finds its way up from the south to their enclosed community. He must become protector, enforcer, coroner, food distributor, and much more. Evan relies heavily on their communal knowledge and the survival techniques passed down from previous generations.
Review: Caterina "Cat" is moving to Bahia de la Luna, because her father has a new job and it will be a better environment for her little sister, Maya, who has cystic fibrosis. Cat is nervous about moving, but trying not to be selfish for her family. After Maya's vest, which helps with her breathing, blows a fuse, the girls head out on an adventure to explore their new town. They meet Carlos and learn about ghosts and Dia de los Muertos, and their lives are changed forever.
This was an amazing graphic novel. There were many heavy topics covered, but there was also laughter and light. Some of the heavier topics were death, loss, loneliness, the fear of new things and meeting new people. But we also saw Cat experience friendship, love, and learning to let go of her own expectations and anxieties.
Vol. 1 Review: Julie has just met the other werewolf of her dreams, Selena. So, why not go on a date to a mysterious magic show, and drag along Julie's best friend, Chet. Only, the magic show seems off and Chet ends up losing their magic. Julie and her gang must team up to master the magician.
This is an adorable drawn graphic novel, with bright colours and a very accepting society of "monsters" and humans. I loved the softness of the colouring, the different body shapes, the perfect balance of explanation/not needing to explain.
The main issue I think this book faced was a lack of narrative. It was very jumpy and inferred things, but did not give enough detail to really make the conflict believable. If there was more back story on Julie's dislike of being a werewolf, or instances of hate towards werewolves, then the ending would have been much more powerful.
The book within the book concept did not flow that well, often times detracting from the main plot. As well, the know-it-all commentary was not that funny.
Rating (3 out of 5 cute coffees)
Overall, a very cute look at the beginnings of a relationship and opening up to another person ("monster").
Review: This is a book of poetry; or, more specifically, one poem by Jason Reynolds. It is a letter from himself to other dreamers about dreams, achievements, goals, and the journey to becoming yourself. A beautifully worded, heartfelt, passionate poem about Jason's ideas about life and the pursuit of happiness.
This book may only have been one poem, but it was such a powerful poem. It is a poem about how we can fail to achieve our dreams over and over, but our passion can never be squelched. We will continue to seek out ways to fulfill our goals, that we may stray from our path from time to time, but we will always find our way back. This is also a poem about the burdens of our dreams, the weight and pressure they place on our shoulders, and learning to hold them up and hold them sacred.
Review: This book was a series of essays by Mindy Kaling about her life, observations, and opinions. There were sections on her life before fame, during The Office, her friends, stardom, relationships, and adulthood. All of them have her unapologetic humour and panache. Honestly, the book (and audiobook) felt like I was having a sit-down conversation with Mindy. Every essay was authentic, unflinchingly funny, and eye opening. I especially loved the behind the scenes stories about the set of The Office, and what it was like to be one of the only female writers.
Mindy Kaling's humour is so relatable and on point. Her comments on being "chubby" and just accepting it, after years of shame, were compelling. I have heard the comment "You would be so pretty if you just lost some weight" (like, what?), and her confusion and saying "thank you", as though it were a compliment (but in the moment not knowing what else to say) was spot on how I felt.
***Spoiler for the Shadow of the Fox Trilogy*** **********************************************
Review: Yumeko, Tatsumi, Okame, Reika, and Daisuke are on a mission to stop the evil Genno from using the Great Kami Dragon's wish to take over the world. Sure, Tatsumi and the Oni, Hakaimono, are sharing one body and their souls have become entwined, sure they are going to have to take on both the demons of Jigoku as well as the shadow clan. At this point, this ragtag bunch has faced so much and triumphed, what could stop them?
This is one of the best found family narratives I have read. The characters are expressive, diverse, and they clearly care deeply for one another. This novel will break your heart a few times, but it will also make you laugh, smile, and appreciate the amazing world building that went into creating this stunningly epic final installment.
Review: Simon and Baz are at the end of their story, or at the beginning of their "happily-ever-after." But, what does that really mean for a young man who has lost his magic and is now half dragon, or a mage/vampire hybrid? How do you transition from enemies to boyfriends, when you have never been good at expressing emotions? Easy, you go on an American road trip, on a holiday to visit an old friend.
This book started out a little slow for me and there were parts I felt just did not click. However, I loved being back in this world. I love the magic system, 'normals' providing magick for mages by creating well known phrases/song lyrics. The added element of having to reshape their magical learning to include American colloquialisms was genius, since their British phrases and lyrics are not as popular in the States. Baz had a hard time switching over, while Penelope adjusted quickly.
*****Spoilers for The Gentleman's Guide to***** ****************Vice & Virtue*******************
Review: Monty and Percy are still in Santorini, a month after their declarations of love. Monty has agreed to take things slow with the virginal Percy, but is starting to become impatient. Felicity decides to help him by making their place empty of pirates and setting some ambiance for the special occasion.
This was an adorably neurotic little novella. Monty is still his posh, insecure, and a little bit selfish self. He is working on his sobriety and his trusting Percy, while also working on becoming someone worthy of Percy. It is such an endearing and believable look at first love and the start of a relationship, after a long term friendship. Each step is new for both Monty and Percy, and both are worried they are going to screw things up.