Tag Archives: Book Review

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher


Title: The Princess Diarist
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Format and Price: Ebook at $16.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie. When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.

With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.

General Observations:
~Before, During and After: The Princess Diarist goes through three phases: Carrie Fisher’s life before Star Wars, during Stars Wars and after Star Wars. I must confess the before and after periods were more interesting to me that the segment during Star Wars.

That is not to say the during Star Wars segment lacked for interest. I liked reading about how she was nervous for her audition, how she was afraid she would be fired for not losing weight, I enjoyed reading about her hair and make-up sessions and her talking to the cast and crew, these parts were genuinely interesting. But a large chunk of the section was Carrie Fisher being obsessed with Harrison Ford.

As it was a three-month affair with little substance, it was far more interesting to Carrie Fisher than it was to me, but given Carrie Fisher’s age at the time, it’s understandable. There’s a reason why some people re-read their old journals containing passages written by a love-sick teenager and wish to burn them, however, I’m glad Carrie Fisher resisted that impulse (even if it did drag on a little too long).

~Sexism in Cinema: Seriously, Carrie Fisher is one of the greatest examples of Sexism and Misogyny in Cinema, while Harrison Ford and even Mark Hamill get to move on from Star Wars and complete other projects, Carrie Fisher is immortalised in that stupid metal bikini outfit (seriously, Madame Tussauds Wax Emporium has immortalised Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in that particular outfit with Jabba the Hut holding the chain and lurking right behind her, what the holy fuck?). Carrie Fisher is a brilliant writer and damn good actress and she deserves/deserved better than that.

~Right In The Feels: Unlike Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, The Princess Diaries were difficult for me to get into, I suppose when you read memoirs detailing Carrie Fisher’s problems with alcohol, then read chapters from a nineteen-year-old Carrie Fisher’s perspective about how she doesn’t like to drink, there can be some disconnect.

I suppose the biggest problem I had with The Princess Diarist was that parts of the book were long segments of introspection of a young woman, starting out as an emerging artist, playing the role of entertainer to cover up the fact that she was deeply unsure and insecure of herself, in other words, it was deeply and uncomfortably familiar.

Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic are the recollections and reflections of an older woman who knows that she has bi-polar, the recollections and reflections of The Princess Diarist are from the perspective of nineteen-year-old woman who isn’t aware that she has bi-polar yet, and is struggling to figure out who she is and what she wants, as well as how to deal with undiagnosed mental health problems.

It was difficult to for me to grapple with the idea that, at one time, Carrie Fisher could be someone like myself, which I suppose was the purpose of the book, one must be a princess before one can become a general.

In conclusion, an interesting insight into the mind of Carrie Fisher, a legendary icon, at a particular stage of her life. It’s a little slow to get into, and there’s not as many jokes, but I consider it a worthy read as I was glued to every page.

Available For Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books
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Out on Good Behaviour by Dahlia Adler

Image Description: The book cover of Out on Good Behaviour by Dahlia Adler. The cover has two white women with brown hair, cuddled up together, face to face, on a checked picnic blanket. The woman on the left is wearing a scarf and a coat, while the other woman is wearing a black shirt with plunging neck line that reveals two rose tattoos on both sides of her chest.
Title: Out on Good Behaviour (Book 3 in the Radleigh University series)
Author: Dahlia Adler
Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and WordPress Blog
Publisher: Self-published via Smashwords
Format and Price: Ebook at $3.61
Rating: 4 out of 5

About The Author:
Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of Under The Lights, Behind The Scenes, Just Visiting, and the Radleigh University series, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.

About The Book:
Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn’t mean she should—not when the person she’s eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren’t meant to be crossed. But when Frankie learns she’s been on Samara’s mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam’s not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she’s afraid she’ll never find it as long as Frankie’s in her head.
Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who’s been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy…under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she’s afraid she might, she doesn’t want to throw Samara’s life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie’s heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books Reading Challenge 2017 – Pansexual Main Character: Frankie is an openly pansexual character, where as Samara is a closeted lesbian who (at the beginning of the novel) isn’t comfortable with coming out just yet because of her conservative parents and conservative friends back home in North Carolina.

~Character VS Plot: This is a book with a primary character focus, with a heavy emphasis on relationships and how those relationships affect other people. As a result, this novel has very little plot, and when there is a plot moment, it’s almost anti-climatically resolved. The element the author did well was the great friendship-bonds between Frankie, Lizzie and Cait.

The scenes with the three of them feel genuine and they were amusing to read. Lizzie and Cait have no problems intervening with Frankie when they think it’s appropriate (and it usually is) but they also know when to give Frankie space so she can figure things out for herself. Frankie’s friendships with other women is why I rated this book four stars instead of three.

~Sweet and Fluffy: On the Sliding Scale of Romance VS Smut, this books sits more towards the romance end of the spectrum. That might sound as though this book is devoid of smut, this is not true, there is an adequate level of smut, it’s just this novel tends to spend most it’s time focusing on “What did she mean when she said X?” introspective moments.

I enjoyed reading those chapters were Frankie and Samara were honest with each other and told each other directly what they wanted, because Frankie and Samara spent most of the book dancing around the subject. This inability to “Spit It Out” is entirely human and understandable, however, it got irritating towards the end.  

I don’t enjoy a lot of introspective character moments and, if an author is going to use introspective a lot, it should involve both romantic parties. I enjoy alternating POV’s, like a chapter from Frankie’s perspective, and then one from Samara’s perspective, instead the novel is entirely from Frankie’s POV. I would have preferred to read both points of view.

All in all, a sweet and fluffy character-driven romance with a good supporting-cast of characters and a strong emphasis on friendship and mutual support. If readers want to make Reading Recommendations of other books with pansexual MC’s written by pansexual authors, please feel free to let me know in the comments section down below.

Available For Purchase: Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo Books

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematorium by Caitlin Doughty

Image Description: The book-cover of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematorium by Caitlin Doughty. The cover is mostly white, the title text in black and red taking up most of the cover space, in between the title-text and the author-text is the picture of a silver surgical tray with a pile of ash within it.
Title: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematorium
Author: Caitlin Doughty
Social Media: Twitter, Ask A Mortician Youtube Channel, Goodreads, and The Order of The Good Death
Publisher: Canongate Books
Format and Price: Ebook at $12.59
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Mortician Caitlin Doughty—host and creator of “Ask a Mortician” and the New York Times best-selling author of Smoke Gets in Your Eyes —founded The Order of the Good Death. She lives in Los Angeles, where she runs her nonprofit funeral home, Undertaking LA.

About The Book:
From her first day at Westwind Cremation & Burial, twenty-three-year-old Caitlin Doughty threw herself into her curious new profession. Coming face-to-face with the very thing we go to great lengths to avoid thinking about she started to wonder about the lives of those she cremated and the mourning families they left behind, and found herself confounded by people’s erratic reactions to death. Exploring our death rituals – and those of other cultures – she pleads the case for healthier attitudes around death and dying. Full of bizarre encounters, gallows humour and vivid characters (both living and very dead), this illuminating account makes this otherwise terrifying subject inviting and fascinating

General Observation:
~I Found This Humerus: The book is filled with witty and hilarious observations, it filled with fascinating and funny one-liners about dealing with people and people dealing with death, which isn’t always the best combination as Death can bring out the best in people but also the worst. The Staff of the Westwind Cremation & Burial are also hilarious and surprisingly sweet.

~Highly Educational: It’s fascinating to peek behind the black curtains of the Funeral Process, the funeral process, the embalming process, the cremation process and I loved knowing all the gory details. Caitlin Doughty also mentioned a lot of different cultures and how they proceed with their Grief and Death rituals and, surprisingly, I found myself agreeing with a lot of Caitlin Doughty’s observations. Caitlin Doughty is very passionate about Death rituals, which are fascinating all on their own, but also how the problems in Western society have emerged because we have lost our rituals and thus haphazardly implement new ones to fill the void (whether we are aware of it or not).

~Right In The Feels: As this is a book about Death, and while I highly recommend it, it is not for the fragile, as there will be moments where Caitlin Doughty is making joke or telling a funny story and it will make a sharp turn into the terribly sad (which shouldn’t be too surprising given the topic), however, these moments aren’t jarring as the comedy and tragedy is equally balanced and mixed together well. I felt it was necessary to point out the economic environment and economic hardships that impact upon people’s behaviour. The chapter about the processing the dead infants and the story about cutting the hair of an eleven-month-old baby-girl was so sad.

All in all, a hilarious book about an interesting job, anyone who has read and enjoyed Jenny Lawson’s books Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Furiously Happy will definitely enjoy this, my friends and family are most certainly getting a copy of this for Birthdays and/or Christmas

Available For Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books
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The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Image Description: The Peguin Classics book-cover of The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It features an angry looking brunette-haired woman wearing a black vintage-style pilgrim dress with a white collar and white cuffs, she is cradling to her chest a brunette-curly-haired infant in white swaddling clothes and/or a white sheet.
Title: The Scarlet Letter
Author: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Publisher: Paperback: Penguin Classics and Audible: Cherry Hill Publishing
Format and Price: Paperback at $12.99 and Audible Book at $7.95
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Nathaniel Hawthorne was a 19th century American novelist and short story writer. He is seen as a key figure in the development of American literature for his tales of the nation’s colonial history. Much of Hawthorne’s writing centers around New England and many feature moral allegories with a Puritan inspiration. His work is considered part of the Romantic movement and includes novels, short stories, and a biography of his friend, the United States President Franklin Pierce.

About The Book:
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s most famous novel was published in 1850 and takes place in Puritan New England, focusing on a community where a beautiful young woman, Hester Prynne, and her illegitimate child are subject to persecution and ostracism; while the mother refuses to name her co-conspirator in adultery, and the father of her child burns up with secret guilt and shame. Hawthorne’s family history caused much of his interest in this time period, but his spiritual leanings toward the popular Transcendental movement precipitated this classic novel where oppression, injustice and intolerance – and their consequences – are explored in turn.

General Observations:
~It’s All Been Done Before: The difficulty in reviewing a book under the category of Classic is that it feels like everyone’s already said what needed to be said.

~The Use of Language: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s style of eloquent and descriptive language isn’t my style of writing, but the flowery language does suite the book’s style, my favourite descriptions are of the forest, the river and the brook, which take place over the couple of chapters that Pearl, Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale spend talking in the forest.

~The Lady Doth Protest Too Much: I know Pearl is supposed to come across as this creepy demon-child that only a mother could love, but I honestly didn’t think she was that weird, Pearl came across as a fairly normal child considering her upbringing (and time-period) of only spending time in the company of her mother and pretty much being scorned or ignored by everyone else. A lot of the comments of “she is such a strange child” came across as projection on Hester Prynne’s part.

~Female Protagonist Problems – Passive Character: By the research I’ve done on the book, I’m informed that Hester Prynne is considered not only a martyr but a literary heroine, but I suppose I have a very different idea of what the character arch of a feminine literary hero should be, although it could most certainly be argued that Hester Prynne is a Hero by the Greek Tragedy definition. I understand the concepts of Hester Prynne’s character that Nathaniel Hawthorne is trying to convey, that good lies in the everyday small deeds of kindness and that soft is not weak.

These are good ideas and concepts to put forward, these are things I agree with, but the problem is that Hester Prynne is never an active character, she is a passive character reacting to events occurring around her, and the moment she tries to actively steer the course of her fate, it’s all ends in tragedy. And yes, some of the reason for that is the position women like her have in society and the time period the novel is set in, but unfortunately this does make the novel pacing drag in places and it is the reason why the resolution of Hester’s character arch is so confusing, or at the least, confusing to me.

~A Product of It’s Time: I understand that, at the time this novel was written, the idea of presenting people who committed adultery as people with thoughts, feelings and that they deserved the chance to redeem themselves and to be happy, you know, humanizing them instead of demonizing them, was a radical idea. But nowadays, adultery isn’t that significant anymore, certainly not to the same extent in my experience and environment (naturally this is going to be different for different people). It serves as a time-capsule of what a select group of people in the USA used to be and how the practise of community scapegoating really doesn’t help society develop better into a more progressive community.

All in all, it’s a good book, and while it is definitely worth a read, however, I feel as though I will find Damned Whores and God’s Police by Anne Summers more relevant to my situation.

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Despository | Kobo Books
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Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Imsge Description: the book-cover Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher. In the background is a light-pattern that resembles the Aurora borealis, in the foreground is a plastic doll of Princess Leia with the palms of her hands covering her eyes.
Title: Shockaholic
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $11.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
Bad news… for anyone who thought Carrie Fisher had finally stopped talking about herself. This time, the electro-convulsive shock therapy she’s been undergoing is threatening to wipe out (what’s left of) her memory. But get ready for a shock of your own. Not only doesn’t she mind paying the second electric bill, she loves the high-voltage treatments. It’s been a roller coaster of a few years for Carrie since her Tony- and Emmy-nominated, one-woman Broadway show and New York Times bestselling book Wishful Drinking. She not only lost her beloved father, but also her once-upon-a-very-brief-time stepmother, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as over forty pounds of unwanted flesh, all the while staying sober and sane-ish. And she wants to tell you, dear reader, all about it. She wants you to someday be able to remind her how Elizabeth Taylor settles a score, how she and Michael Jackson became friends, or how she ended up sparring with Ted Kennedy on a dinner date. And she especially wants to preserve her memories of Eddie Fisher. Shockaholic is laugh-out-loud funny, acerbic, and witty as hell. But it also reveals a new side of Carrie Fisher that may even bring a pleasant shock your way: it is contemplative, vulnerable, and ultimately, quite tender.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: Alongside Wishful Drinking, I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisible Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Expansion Pack: Wishful Drinking kind of gives a basic overview of things, Shockaholic goes into more details on some of the significant events in Carrie Fisher’s life, like waking up next to her white-republican-gay-friend and the sequential drug-addiction problems and, unfortunately, when it comes to addiction, sometimes you have to get to really bad place before you realise something needs to change. Fortunately Carrie Fisher was able to get the help she needed and it eventually lead her to pursue Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) and hence the name of the title. Carrie Fisher also uses her book to dispel some of the myths surrounding Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), acknowledging her own previous bias towards it, but she also talks about some of the side-effects as well, such as problems with short term memory.

~Right In The Feels: Her chapters that feature her friendship with Michael Jackson and her relationship with her previous step-mother Elizabeth Taylor were amusing, interesting and insightful, however, it was the chapters that focused on her relationship with her father Eddie Fisher (who she cared for in his later years until he died) was the one that had me tearing up. It was bitter-sweet that Carrie and Eddie were able to reconnect and have the relationship Carrie always wanted with her father later in life. There’s an especially touching moment in the book when Carrie starts talking about how she has a recording of her father singing preserved in her phone, that way she’ll always be able to remember.

In conclusion, just go read it, it’s highly entertaining and you’ll whizz straight through it (I certainly did).

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

Image Description: the book-cover of Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
Title: Wishful Drinking
Author: Carrie Fisher
Social Media: Twitter and Goodreads
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Format and Price: Ebook at $13.99
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Author:
Carrie Frances Fisher (1956 – 2016) was an American actress, screenwriter and novelist, most famous for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy.

About The Book:
In Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher tells the true and intoxicating story of her life with inimitable wit. Born to celebrity parents, she was picked to play a princess in a little movie called Star Wars when only 19 years old. “But it isn’t all sweetness and light sabres.” Alas, aside from a demanding career and her role as a single mother (not to mention the hyperspace hairdo), Carrie also spends her free time battling addiction, weathering the wild ride of manic depression and lounging around various mental institutions. It’s an incredible tale – from having Elizabeth Taylor as a stepmother, to marrying (and divorcing) Paul Simon, from having the father of her daughter leave her for a man, to ultimately waking up one morning and finding a friend dead beside her in bed.

General Observations:
~Diverse Books 2017: I’m nominating this book for the “Main character with an Invisable Disability” category. In this memoir, Carrie Fisher talks about her struggles with addiction, which is connected to her adult-diagnosis of Bi-polar. It was comforting to read about Carrie Fisher’s struggles because, in a way, they were familiar and foreign at at the same time. We need more people like Carrie Fisher in the world, more people who are willing and able to talk about their struggles with mental health because the more we talk about our struggles, the more accessible they become, and gradually our collective stories will destroy the stigma of mental health.

~Short and Sweet: The paperback and the ebook version are only 176 pages, I found myself consuming this book rather quickly, which should say something as I’ve been in a reading slump recently and have seriously struggled with motivation to read. I consider Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic to be parts 1 and 2 respectively, they’re both short books (both are 176 pages, which is about the same size as a standard manga volume), and if you liked part 1 but don’t want to continue, that’s okay. But if you want more details on some of the events and experiences that Carrie Fisher brings up in Wishful Drinking, you can continue with Shocaholic, it’s entirely up to you.

~Make ‘Em Laugh: Carrie Fisher had such an amazing sense of humor, I love and truly admire how she could take such pain and misery, and turn it into something worth laughing about.

All in all, it’s a great short read about struggling with mental health and addiction and I think the world can never have too many books like this.

Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads
Image Description: an illustrated picture of Carrie Fisher as General Organa (from The Force Awakens) standing on the deck of a space-ship with the cosmos and various planets and galactic-bodies in the background. In the corner of the picture is plain black text that reads “drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra. Carrie Fisher, 1956 – 2016”.

Available for purchase at: Amazon | Book Depository | Kobo Books

Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book
Image Description: A pink and purple coloured button with the text ‘Read Diverse Books 2017’ in white text with the word ‘Diverse’ written in rainbow coloured text. there is also the white outline of a clip-art picture of a laid open book

The First Date Book-Tag

Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
Image Description: a red circular table with a red heart-shaped-box of chocolates next to a small red square-shaped glass-vase with pink and white roses inside the vase.
I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has resulted in me developing the habit of lurking on YouTube and watching videos of books I’ll probably never read (I’m so far behind on the new, at this point I’m giving up entirely on keeping with new releases), one of the YouTube Channels I’ve been lurking on recently is Katrina @ Little Book Owl, as I said before, I’ve been in a Reading Slump for a while now, which has made it difficult to write posts like this, and I feel as though I’m just repeating myself at this point, but I figured I’d give it a go anyway.
1. The awkward first date – a book where something felt off. It wasn’t a bad book, but lacked that spark for you.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There's a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there's a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there's a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.
Image Description: book cover of Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy. The cover has a black fleur-de-lis wallpaper-like background, with the title of the book in white text taking up most of the foreground. There’s a gray electrical cord snaking across the L in Like, there’s a gilded picture frame around the letter A, there is a white oval-shaped serving platter in place of an O in the word House, there’s a vase of wilting red tulips and a split cup of tea or coffee down the bottom of the cover.

Like A House On Fire by Cate Kennedy

My PWE teachers rave about Cate Kennedy, they use her short stories in the university readers at any given opportunity and I’ll admit I did like a few of the short stories contained in this anthology (and a couple of her other short stories which aren’t included here). I can see this book being popular or being widely read by literary types with an interest in Australian Literature.

The thing is that I don’t know if this is just a generational thing, or it’s a just me, but this is definitely a book that doesn’t sit well with me. I dislike how Cate Kennedy handles the complicated and multi-faceted situations and circumstances surrounding the topics of women, children and motherhood. The depictions of motherhood (or the lack of it) weren’t outright offensive but I would consider them shallow (and perhaps problematic), which I suppose could be a reasonable assessment as it’s a short-story collection.

2. The cheap first date – book that turned out less than you expected
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the top and a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom.
Image Description: book cover of Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan. The book cover is red in colour with a silhouette picture of a person in a martial arts pose up the the top and a a silhouette picture of London Bridge down the bottom

Red Phoenix by Kylie Chan

It’s called Red Phoenix, but it has almost nothing to do with the character it’s named after and, in short, it’s a hot mess. It’s why I won’t be finishing the rest of series, or read any of Kylie Chan’s other books, however, I accidentally converted my mother-in-law into reading this series and she seems to enjoy them *shrugs* so maybe this is just me.

The Dark Heavens series started out alright but began to fall apart in this book, the annoying elements were amplified, worse elements were added like how all the men (with the exception of Leo because he’s gay) wanted to bang Emma, despite having pretty much no personality. The plot became non-existent and thus it became tedious and boring, this is because the author chose to focus on stuff that wasn’t interesting (like all the men wanting to bang Emma) and not on things could have been genuinely interesting.

Such as the family dynamic between Tiger and his son, who is now a bodyguard to John’s daughter. If, as an author, you’re going to take a step back from the plot and place a bigger focus on the characters (which is fine if done well), these characters need to be interesting or engaging (preferably both) and none of the characters met this criteria.

3. Well-prepared first date – better than expected
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.
Image Description: The book cover of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. The cover is a picture of a red-brick alley-way with a red-tile flooring, at the end of the alley-way is the black silhouette of a tall man in trench over-coat with his back towards the viewer.

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

To be honest, I thought The Cuckoo’s Calling was a bit meh, it was an alright beginning to a new series but nothing to rave about, so as result I began The Silkworm with low expectations, however, I thoroughly enjoyed The Silkworm, now this may be due to cognitive bias as Cormoran Strike is investigating the disappearance and murder of a writer, but I enjoyed it.

4. Hot but dumb – pretty book, not so hot on the inside

Image Description: book cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I reviewed this book on my other blog and I felt that there were a lot of problems hiding behind this gorgeous cover, I got to a point where I was so sick of it, I was relieved to finally finish the review, that way I would never need to think about this book again. The worst part is that everyone seems to love this book, which just amplifies the confusion.

5. Blind date – book you picked up not knowing anything about it
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched, with her knees pinned to her chest.
Image Description: The book cover of The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. The background is an olive-green colour, in the foreground is an apothecary-style bottle with a short neck, inside the apothecary-style bottle is blue-red liquid and a young adolescent girl crouched with her knees pinned to her chest inside the bottle.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

I picked up this book, purely because of the cover, which I later regretted as the book turned out to be considerably mediocre, it adds nothing new to the genre as far as I’m concerned and there’s some problematic elements  of sexism and internalized misogyny involved as well. So, let it be known that literally judging a book by its cover will also result in regrets.

6. Speed dating – book you read super fast
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.
Image Description: book cover of Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. A red building, red doorway-arch and red door, there is a the imprint of a large hand burned into the right-side of the red-doorway-arch with grey-blue cobblestone/slate-rock on the ground.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

I was glued to the pages of Daughter of Smoke and Bone (as well as the second book in the trilogy Days of Blood and Starlight), the book has some cliché and problematic elements like a Female Protagonist with Special Snowflake Syndrome and Super Dramatic Angsty/Wangsty Romance with Much Older Male-Character (its justified in-universe, but Authors, could you please stop doing this? It’s creepy. Thank you), however, despite those problems (Karou and Akira’s relationship can get eye-rolly at some points), I definitely enjoyed the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I’m happy to recommend the trilogy.

7. The rebound – a book you read too soon after a book hangover and it kind of ruined the book for you

Image Description: book-cover of Matched by Ally Condie. The cover has a grey-beige background with a green bubble taking up the top one-third of the cover, inside the green bubble is an adolescent female with brown hair, wearing a bright green dress, she is posed as though she is trying to get out of the green bubble that surrounds her. The Text underneath is “WATCHED BY SOCIETY. TRAPPED BY RULES. FREED BY LOVE?” with the book’s title written underneath in large capital letters and a pink font.

Matched by Ally Condie

I read this book and Divergent close together, which was a bad idea, reading mediocre Dystopian novels in quick secession highlights the mediocrity. I picked up this book because I liked the cover and I was intrigued by the premise (yes, I read the blurb for this one, I learnt my lesson), but the book doesn’t live up to the premise, the main protagonist suffers from what I like to call “Female Protagonist Problems”, more specifically “Bella Swan Syndrome”.

While Cassie isn’t a sociopath like Bella, there’s definitely a lack of personality and/or emotions in her character, she doesn’t seem to feel very much, which could have been an interesting case of Alexithymia, but I suspect it wasn’t done intentionally. Cassie is a bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself (with the exception of plot-orientated eye-colour) or interests outside of her romantic object of affection, as a result, she is super boring, it’s also why it’s completely unbelievable that she has two guys fighting over her (I despise Love Triangles).

Then there’s the world building, or perhaps the lack there of it, the author fails to take into consideration a lot of factors that would influence this world, while there are many examples I could use, I’ll just stick to one example such as LGBTQIA+ people. How the society goes about finding appropriate statistical matches for the people who fit under the incredibly diverse umbrella-term of LGBTQIA+ (let alone doing it without coming across as being an arse-hole) is never addressed. In fact, there are no mentions of the LGBTQIA+ community at all, it’s like they’ve never existed. That’s super creepy, but the worst part is that I don’t think this was an intentional move on the author’s behalf, I think she just didn’t think about the deeper ramifications of her world building.

I know it’s supposed to be a Dystopian novel that centers around a glorified breeding program, but the author couldn’t even explain how past-problems have been resolved, there’s no mention of teenage pregnancy, there’s no discussion of infertility or sterilization (does IVF still exist? Are Foster Parents still required? Does the Adoption process still exist? Who knows, it’s never brought up). I have no idea why this book even exists, let alone comprehend why people enjoy it.

8. Overly enthusiastic date – a book that felt like it was trying too hard
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is currently crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict skyscrapers.
Image Description: book cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is the movie tie-in version with an adolescent female (Tris) positioned with her back towards the male character (Four), who is crouching, they essentially standing/crouching back to back on a roof top facing different directions but both of them are looking towards the viewer. They are surrounded by derelict sky-scrappers.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I felt that Divergent was trying too hard to be a combination of The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series, with the flaws of both series but none of the positives.The Hunger Games flaws it has perpetuated are bland self-insert character with pretty much no description of herself and the Harry Potter series problem of poor or inadequate world-building the author hasn’t acknowledged or addressed (for example: What category does an Engineer fall into? Because they certainly need a few of them).

On the plus side, Divergent has no Love Triangles, so that’s something, but as a Book Reviewer, I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to use shitty plot-devices. In saying that, Tris and Four’s relationship is a welcome change from the relationships typically found in Dystopian Young Adult Novels (*cough* Red Rising Trilogy *cough*), although once again I feel that Authors don’t deserve a gold star for refraining to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships between minors or involving minors (Authors aren’t supposed to romanticise a problematic or abusive relationships in general but clearly that’s still a problem).

Divergent’s main flaw is that was trying to hit all the right marketable “Young Adult” buttons, that it results in nothing interesting happening for the majority of the novel, and I suppose I’d rather be offended then bored.

9. The perfect first date – book that did everything right for you

Image Description: book-cover of A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. The cover has a white background, in the foreground is the black silhouette of a male character wearing a coat in various shades of red. On the ground, the male character is standing on multiple overlapping circles (black, white, red, and grey), it looks as though his feet are standing on the red and grey circles.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I reviewed this book on my other blog, and to be honest, there’s not much else I can say, I just enjoyed it immensely and I cannot praise V.E. Schwab enough.

10. Humiliating first date – book you’re embarrassed to admit you liked/ embarrassed to see reading in public for whatever reason
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her back).
Image Description: The book-cover of A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole (text is in red). In the background of the cover is an image of the moon against a blue background, in the foreground is a couple embracing. The male (dark clothes and black hair) is embracing a blonde woman (who is positioned with her back facing towards the audience so her long blonde hair can cascade down her hair).

The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole

It’s a Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series, A Hunger Like No Other is technically the second book in the series but as I didn’t particularly like A Warlord Wants Forever I’m not going to recommend it, the series definitely plays the long-term game in terms of plot, but I enjoy it. I don’t like all the books in the series, however, I have read all the books in the series thus far. And yes, I’m well aware it’s trashy and a couple of the books (okay, fine I’ll be honest, more than a couple) have some… problematic elements to them (I can’t stand Dreams of a Dark Warrior, but due to its significance with regards to the plot, it can’t be skipped, unfortunately).

It’s a quick and easy read if you’re currently in a slump like I am. What I hate the most is that the publishers are changing the trashy covers, you know, trying to make them more subtle and stuff. Although the trashy covers are one of the reasons I’m inclined to review Romance books on my other blog, the changing of the covers is stupid idea (did they even ask the readers?) because then they don’t match the rest of my books and changing the covers defeats the entire purpose, as far as I’m concerned, the covers are supposed to be trashy (the cover serves a purpose).

So yeah, leave me a link in the comments section if you want to participate and I’ll check out your post. What you think about the books I mentioned? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Let me know in the comments section.

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