Friday, June 19, 2015

Book Thoughts: Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi

Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and GainUnbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain by Portia de Rossi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“True nobility isn’t about being better than anyone else; it’s about being better than you used to be.”

"Yes, Ma. I am better.”

  I am better than I used to be.


This was a painful, candid look into Portia's battle with her eating disorder that last for nearly twenty years of her life. At first, it seems like a "normal" thing as a model and later actor. She'd skipped meals and/or work extra hard for anything that required she put her body on display. Her disorder also seemed for a cry for attention, as she admitted that thrived off the energy people would give her due to her weight. At her lowest weight she was 82 lbs.

It takes a lot for someone to show so much of their soul. And while I'm certainly sure she told this story to put it all out there, to face this long, dangerous part of her life, I wished there'd been more time spent on her recovery rather than trying to sum it up in a little epilogue that glossed over things. Too much of this book is triggering and teeming with ideas that someone with an eating disorder or even flirting with one might try to practice while spending nearly no time chronicling Portia's fight back to health. Like I said, a wonderfully candid book that I wished had shown more of the recovery process rather than spending over 2/3rds of the book giving excruciating detail of how she made this disorder "work."

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Thoughts: God Help the Child by Toni Morrison

God Help the ChildGod Help the Child by Toni Morrison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“Listen to me. You are about to find out what it takes, how the world is, how it works and how it changes when you are a parent.

Good luck and God help the child.”


We follow the story of a woman named Bride, a woman who was born so dark she's described as "blue-black." Both her parents are lighter in complexion than she is, so that caused friction between her parents, as her father couldn't accept the idea that his wife hadn't cheated on him. Neither parent seemed willing to accept that they could birth a child so black. Sweetness, Bride's mother, raised her to be tough. She tried to justify her actions by saying she was trying to prepare Bride for a world that would look at her skin and fear her. To Bride's credit, she grows into a beautiful, successful, confident woman who uses her skin to bewitch others. She commands a room when she's in it. However, after a painful part of her past resurfaces and the man she loves leaves her, Bride sets out on a journey.

I had to think about this book a few days before I could write a proper review for this book. I've been a long-time fan of Morrison's work and was excited to hear that she was writing her first book with a contemporary setting. However, while it is beautifully written and Toni Morrison is a wonderful narrator, this story is so disjointed. I'm not saying there aren't things to be taken away from this story, but it only grazes the top of the water, giving very little depth at all.

Characters come in with POVs that seem irrelevant and are never revisited again. While I definitely side-eyed the whole "I miss my black lady" chapter, at least it seemed to be the most earnest in trying to show how painful it is to have secrets and hurts that people would rather you ignore, or use them to make you stronger (as seems to be the overarching theme in all this) than trying to truly heal and make peace with your past--that includes Bride and her relationship with her mother.

This seems to lack purpose; it seems to lack a point. The driving force behind the story was weak. Resolutions I'd hope to see resolved never were. This story lacked cohesion, and honestly, I'm not particularly sure I understand what Toni was going for here. It's disappointing to feel this way about a Toni Morrison book because she usually has such powerful stories to tell.

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Book Thoughts: And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell , Henry Cole (Illustrator)

And Tango Makes ThreeAnd Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought this from Audible to listen to with my children yesterday, but we're just getting around to it today. This is the fictionalized true account of two male penguins, Roy and Silo, who live in the Central Park Zoo. A brief history of these two penguins included them partaking in non-sexual mating habits. They'd wanted a chick and had been observed trying to steal the eggs of other couples (not mentioned in the book, obviously,) until the zookeepers finally gave them the egg of a couple who had never been able to raise more than one chick at a time.

From this egg, which Silo and Roy cared for, came Tango. The story doesn't go into all that details, but it presents the story of Silo, Roy, and Tango in a way that was understandable and reinforced that families have various makeups and that families that don't fit the "traditional standard" can be happy and healthy.

More trivia (not presented in this book) Tango actually grew up to take a female partner herself. Roy and Silo ended up separating (I believe this was a decision of the zookeepers due to dwindling numbers). Silo ended up with a female partner, and Roy began living with a group of single male penguins.

Neil Patrick Harris was a wonderful narrator. My kids really enjoyed his reading of this book. My daughter called it "cute." The only problem my children had with the book, well actually my daughter, was that she didn't get to look at the pictures since we listened to this on audio, so I ended up having to get the book for her and all was well in the world.

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Book Thoughts: Absolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler

Absolutely True LiesAbsolutely True Lies by Rachel Stuhler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars. SLIGHT SPOILERS! 

Full Disclosure: A review copy of this book was provided to me by Touchstone via Netgalley. I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for providing me this opportunity. All opinions expressed from here forward are my own.
When a Goodreads friend recommended this book, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've been reading and reviewing more speculative fiction for the website that I blog for, so I'm usually knee deep in aliens, dragons, and some times some amalgam of the two. It's been a while since I sat down with a light fluffy, contemporary book and just enjoyed it for what it was worth. Admittedly, I love my speculative fiction, but I've missed reading contemporary fiction. So, when I saw this was available for grabs through NetGalley and I'd added to my TBR pile, I requested it.

We follow a fledgling entertainment reporter, Holly Gracin, who after finding herself out of work takes on the job of ghostwriting the autobiography of one of the world's biggest teen stars, Daisy Mae Dixson, a girl who kind of makes me think of Jessica Simpson and Britney Spears back during the height of their stardom.
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Book Thoughts: A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, #4)A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is long and spoiler filled.

I'd give this a 3.5. I chose to go with the official 3 star rating instead of the 4 for a few reasons that I'll go into a bit later. This book chronicles the fallout from The Red Wedding and the deaths of Joffrey and his grandfather, Tywin, following various characters as they continue to try to survive and navigate their way through the treacherous expanse of Westeros.

This book is very character driven, and I think many of the characters went through a few defining moments in this book. This book also introduced a few new faces and POVs that provided some insight into parts of the story. I enjoy stories that really try to delve into the machinations of the characters because I like to know how people, even fictional people, tick. A story can't always be constant action. Well, it could, but what would be taken from that? The stories that stick with us are the ones that have unforgettable stories with unforgettable characters. There's something in them that touches us on more than just a shallow level. There needs to be a time for characters to morph, to adapt, to grow in response to what's going on around them--especially for a story as epic as this one. If characters didn't change in response to all this upheaval, this would be disappointing. There's so much going on that we do need this downtime to see how the characters are changed (or are being changed) by the events surrounding them.
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This blog is a mishmash of thoughts, pictures, and rantings among other things about games I've played, games I will play, and games I am currently playing. From time to time, I may post book reviews that I've written that are about different games and/or game worlds. Feel free to recommend games or add me on the platforms I've listed. I don't do competitive multiplayer much anymore, but I'm always down for some co-op these days. I'm usually DigitalTempest everywhere unless otherwise specified.

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2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Tiara has read 6 books toward her goal of 52 books.
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Tiara's bookshelf: currently-reading

The Elfstones Of Shannara
tagged: upcoming-reads, currently-reading, 2016-audiobook-challenge, classi...
Gardens of the Moon
tagged: currently-reading, fantasy, z-narrator-ralph-lister, 2016-audiobook...

goodreads.com

Tiara's bookshelf: read

Deceived
really liked it
Review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge and 2016-audiobook-challenge
The Girl from the Well
liked it
More reviews @ The Bibliosanctum TL;DR Review 2.5 to 3 stars. Not badly written… I’m just disappointed by the squandered potential. I’m going to reread Anna Dressed in Blood to make myself feel better about this Longer Review: T...
tagged: 2016-women-of-genre-fiction-reading, horror, and young-adult
Thirteen Reasons Why
I don't think this quite captures the complexity of bullying and suicide, and some of the issues that Hannah started facing toward the end of the novel really seemed to detract even more from the feelings she was going through by having ...
tagged: young-adult, popsugar-2016-reading-challenge, 2016-audiobook-challe...
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
liked it
Spoiler free review to come.
tagged: 2016-star-wars-reading-challenge
The Phantom of the Opera
really liked it
tagged: classic-horror, classics, audiobook, 2016-audiobook-challenge, horr...

goodreads.com

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