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Blogher Book Review: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

March 7, 2013

This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, however, all thoughts and opinions are my very own. Not a robot’s. Or someone posing else posing as me. (That would be weird.)

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Oh, Jenny Lawson (otherwise known as The Bloggess to those who are around on the internets quite a bit.) Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, is a memoir chalked full of hysterical stories stemming from her odd, yet enjoyable, childhood and on into her adult life. You should know that if you’re easily offended by the mention of one’s female ladybits or by the word f*ck then you should probably skip this one, because there is a LOT of both in this book.

If you’re a fan of Lawson’s blog then suffice to say that you’ll also be a fan of her book. At times the stories feel a bit repetitive (this is only if you read her site) but the way she strings them together will leave you laughing until you cry. Her father, the taxidermist, provides some of the funnier material for her to write about as Jenny does seem to have an odd obsession with taxidermied animals. it’s Lawson’s style of writing that really pulls you in. It’s an honest look at someone living with a mental illness and it shows us all that sometimes, you just have to break down a little to survive.

If you’ve read this book, if you enjoy the art of taxidermy or possibly just talking about your female lady garden, then come on over and discuss with us. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. If nothing less, you’ll have a really awesome story to tell about some weirdos you read about on the internet.

Blogher Book Review: Touch and Go

February 6, 2013

This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, however, all thoughts and opinions are my very own. Not a robot’s. Or someone posing else posing as me. (That would be weird.)

While I’ve never read one of Lisa Gardner’s books before, Touch and Go started off with a bang (albeit, an unsettling bang with the whole discussion of how pain tastes like oranges to Libby…) The Denbe family, Justin and Libby, come home after dinner one night to find their front door open and before they can figure out what’s happening, both are brutally attacked with tasers. As their daughter, Ashlyn, comes downstairs she, too, is attacked. The rest of the story follows Detective Tessa Leoni as she struggles to put the pieces together. She doesn’t believe this was a random attack and as more and more of the story unfolds we learn that maybe the Denbe family wasn’t as All-American as they seemed and just might have been harboring some dark secrets of their own.

While a good part of this book was thrilling (the parts focusing on the Denbe family) some of it left a lot to be desired. It’s hard to actually give any details without revealing too much of the plot. I struggled to really care about Tessa and the details involving the investigation actually bordered on boring. I was much more interested in the Denbes. I believe that if suspense thrillers were really your cup of tea this book would be hard to put down but as it was, I had a hard time making myself finish it.

So, I don’t know. Maybe I was in a mood. Maybe this book would’ve been better had I been drooling at the mouth for some sort of detective story. As it is, I thought the book was well-written and it certainly had its twists. It’s just not necessarily a book I’d pick up to read again. But! Don’t let me sway you. You might love it! (Seriously. You could.) Regardless, you should still come hang out with us to talk about it if you’ve read it. Come on. You know you want to.

Blogher Book Club Review: My Life Map

November 15, 2012

This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, however, all thoughts and opinions are my very own. Not a robot’s. Or someone posing else posing as me. (That would be weird.)

When I first saw the summary of My Life Map I initially thought to pass on this review because self-help books really aren’t my cup of tea. I can only look deep within my soul for so long before I’m like, “Hey, me, let’s go get a cheeseburger… This soul searching is for the birds.”  But then because of the crazy gal that I am I decided to review this one. Turns out? It was an excellent choice.

The book is definitely more of a journal as it has large portions of most pages saved for writing. The book asks questions about your past as well as where you see yourself going. However, it does so in a way that doesn’t come across as overwhelming. The creation of the life map takes place in increments that are broken down so that you’re looking at tiny sections of your goals or past occurrences.  In order to place together the big picture, you have to get all the pieces in line first.

The book gives four examples of fictional characters’ life maps. This allows the reader to get a general idea of how a completed life map looks, but honestly they’re not needed. The instructions for how to create your own life map are so easy to follow that I didn’t find myself referring to them once I started filling out the book. If anything, it was just interesting to see these characters’ choices and goals.

Now, will I ever actually pin my life map up somewhere so that I can draw inspiration from it? Probably not. I’m not a person who usually does such things. I’m not a big journal-writer, nor do I need visual things for inspiration. But! That’s not to say that this exercise was a total waste of my time. It wasn’t! In fact, it did let me realize the things I needed to put a couple of small goals into motion so that’s a plus.

Overall, this book was great for what it was. Would I have ever picked it up in the store? No, but that’s only because self-help books usually make me roll my eyes, so blame me and my judgy-ness. If you’re interested in talking more about My Life Map come join us at Blogher to discuss!

Blogher Book Club Review: Matched

October 4, 2012

This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, however, all thoughts and opinions are my very own. Not a robot’s. Or someone posing else posing as me. (That would be weird.)

Ohhh, Dytstopia… I should’ve known you were going to steer me wrong at one point… Matched by Ally Condie is where it all went wrong for me.

Set in the future (obviously) Cassia is fine, living in her perfect little house, with her perfect little life in this perfect bubble of a world. The Society regulates everything right down to the person you’re going to marry and live with happily ever after. (Think: Arranged marriages but to an extreme, scientific level) Cassia likes knowing that the pressure of finding the perfect man is off her shoulders. (I mean, who wouldn’t?! Think about how much less stressful high school would be without worrying about finding the perfect boyfriend!) The Society takes care everything Cassia could need. They match up her personality, likes, dislikes and interests with a boy who is perfectly suited to her. That’s exciting, right? Sure, she might have to move away from her home and her best friends (one of which is Xander, resident hottie) but she can handle that for a perfect life.

Everything is going perfectly when Cassia is matched with Xander (less exciting because Xannnnnder?? We know you, but still mildly relieving because seriously, Cassia, think of who it COULD’VE BEEN. At least Xander is hot.), but then, for a split second, another face pops on the screen. It’s Ky Markham. Cassia doesn’t know much about him and knows she wasn’t supposed to see his face, but that doesn’t stop her from wondering if maybe, somehow, The Society got it wrong for once and it’s Ky she’s supposed to be with. The rest of the novel follows Cassia as she struggles with the decision to pursue what happened with Ky’s face accidentally flashing up on the giant screen or to live her life as The Society thinks she should, with Xander.

I’m going to be honest… I hated this book. I really, really wanted to like it but I just couldn’t get past how absolutely BORING Cassia was. You would think with this life changing decision on her hands and the risk she’s taking (The Society does not like it when someone decides to go all rogue when choosing their mates. What do you think this is, Cassia – a free country?!) would make her somewhat exciting, but it doesn’t. As she develops her friendship with Ky she basically gets more boring, which you would think is impossible because she’s a) already the most boring person ever and b) she’s contemplating an escape from The Society somehow, so one would be lead to believe that would be an exciting adventure. No. It’s not. Thanks, Cassia.

So, there. I said it. I didn’t like Matched, but! That doesn’t mean I don’t want to talk about it anymore. We can discuss why we DIDN’T like it, if that’s the case! Doesn’t that sound fun?

Trust Your Eyes

September 6, 2012

This is a paid review for Blogher Book Club, however, all thoughts and opinions are my very own. Not a robot’s. Or someone posing else posing as me. (That would be weird.)

For a while Sarah has been telling me I should sign up for Blogher’s Book Club because I read so much so why not get free books and a little bit of moolah thrown my way to review the books I read? I saw absolutely nothing wrong with this plan except for my laziness which is why it took me so long to sign up to do it. However! Now that I’ve done it… SARAH. You really need to put a little more pressure on me for these sorts of things.

Anyways, for this review I read Linwood Barclay’s “Trust Your Eyes,” a murder mystery/suspense/thriller. If I’d just skimmed the jacket of this book in store I’m almost positive I would have gone right past it because for some reason, in the past five or six years, I’ve convinced myself I only like cheesy young adult fiction and/or the occasional zombie apocalypse story. I should be ashamed of myself because I do like murder mystery/suspense/thrillers!

This story weaves the tale of Ray Kilbride, who’s father has just passed away in a seemingly innocent accident, so he travels back to his hometown to take care of his brother, Thomas, who suffers from Schizophrenia. Thomas has an obsession with maps and spends the majority of his day memorizing the maps of the world via a computer program called Whirl 360. Thomas scours the street views of different cities (think Google Earth) while memorizing the tiniest of details. That’s all fine and well, except for when Thomas believes he’s witnessed a snapshot of a murder in one of the building windows on a NYC map.

Obviously, Ray is having a hard time believing what Thomas says is true (schizophrenia does tend to discredit one’s murder accusations…) and to top it off, the pieces of the puzzle that are his father’s death just aren’t fitting together the way they should. Once Ray gives into Thomas’ pleas to at least investigate the snapshot a little, Barclay takes both Thomas and Ray as well as the readers on a suspenseful thrill ride filled with twists and turns until the very last word.

In the line of suspense thrillers, Barclay really pulls this one off. It’s an easy read and every chapter leaves you wanting just a little bit more. I’m excited to talk more about this book so come over and chat it up!

Bachelor Pad: It’s Back! And Just As Terrible As Ever!

July 24, 2012

YOU GUYS. My life finally had meaning last night as I lay sprawled out in my oversized chair… Bachelor Pad had returned! And with it was my reality show hero… Michael Stagliano.

But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.

First, let’s be real. This show is only going to get more ridiculous as the seasons go on because, c’mon. It’s all, “Hey! Wanna be on a show where you get to play really degrading games with cheesy names and then have sex with random people while sleeping in bunk beds surrounded by other random people? Also, communicable diseases. Those are there too.”

And of course, people are all, “SIGN. ME. UP.”

But! Let us give thanks because we get to watch this train wreck every week!

Anyways, back to the show. I’m not giving you pics and recaps of every person on the show like last year because a) you all have a life and b) that took way too long last year with all the clicking and copying and pasting and just…no. Plus, i don’t even really know who is on the show because I was too focused on the SUPER FANS.

Yeah.

SUPER FANS (which will only be referred to in all caps because there is no way to say that phrase without wanting to shout it from the mountain tops) were allowed to make videos professing their love for the contestants on the Bachelor and/or Bachelorette. Once they submitted the videos the producers chose who they thought would be a great match to put on the show, which is actually similar to being fed to actual lions in front of a live audience like they did in Jesus times.

Anyways, four girls (a set of twins are operating as one person… and yeah, I KNOW. It’s awful.) and three guys were chosen.  Now, when I discovered this twist, only this flashed in my brain:

I want to make sure that you and I are best friends – “gnome” matter what. ~ Cool Ethan, easily my favorite stalker in cinema history.

Of course, this ups the chances of someone being murdered in their sleep and taken to a taxidermist but hey! THIS IS REALITY TELEVISION, FOLKS. Those are the rules.

Not really.

However, I am keeping my eye on the gal who was shown sketching a picture of none other than Stagliano himself… Don’t trust anyone who does sketches of others. So basically, artists. Don’t trust artists.

I have gotten WAY off track. Back to my point… The SUPER FANS show up and all the reality show “vets” extend their claws because, “Hiss! Boo! These are OUR venereal diseases, thankyouverymuch! We earned these, assholes.” It was very Bad Girls Club-esque with everyone immediately hating the SUPER FANS on site. Erica Rose at one point even mentions how pathetic it was to call yourself a fan.

I cannot even wrap my brain around this logic.

You are on a reality show where fans made you famous! How are you not leaning more towards, “Hey, thanks for watching! Let me kiss your feet.” Whatever. It’s Erica Rose. Puke.

Ok, after introduction of people who I have yet to learn the names of (except Blakely who I vaguely recognize as the batshit crazy girl from some season) Ed, who was apparently a big ol’ cheater after proposing to Jillian, gets drunk and dives into the pool. So, standard Bachelor Pad behavior.

“This isn’t a hot tub! It’s a cold tub!”

The contestants and SUPER FANS then choose their partners with everyone running away from the SUPER FANS as though they have leprosy. Or Herpes. Toss up.

The challenge? “Falling Out Of Love.” I know… we can do better, guys. We really, really can.

The partners have to crawl into a plastic heart and stay wedged in there while the heart is being tipped forward. The first to fall gets a vote against them; the last couple standing wins a date.

Much to Erica “SUPER FANS ARE NOTHING BUT UGLY LOSERS TO ME” Rose’s dismay, she and her partner fall first. And! The SUPER FAN couple wins! Except it’s the twins, who America already hates. I’m sure of it. The twins plus the other SUPER FAN get to go on a cheesy carnival date that culminates to these weirdos skinny dipping in the Pacific. The entire time SUPER FAN David keeps comparing this to past Bachelor/Bachelorette dates, complete with a voiceover and clips from the dates.

“And this is just like that one time so-and-so and so-and-so were on the ferris wheel! And THIS is just like that one time what’s-his-name and what’s-her-name rode a carousel!”

Then it showed him crafting a hair doll from Michael Stagliano and Blakely’s hair…

Not really. (I mean, I bet it happened. Just not on camera.)

Speaking of Stagliano, where’s our hero been? Being normal. As always. That’s why he’s our hero!

The rose ceremony happens and this one guy (SUPER FAN Nick, I believe) keeps on saying how SUPER FAN Dave f**ked him because he put a target on his back and I don’t know the rest because I seriously could not stop staring at his eyes. Are they crossed? Are they too close together? What’s going on here?

Alas, SUPER FAN Nick was correct. SUPER FAN Dave f**ked him and all the other SUPER FANS by dividing the house. (Amateur! How do you not know how to play this game?! I am clearly a better SUPER FAN.) Except SUPER FAN Donna. He did not f**k her. (Yet… ZING!) She was kept around because she has big boobs. I predict this will wear off soon since the majority of the girls on this show are running around with their fake ta-tas.

So SUPER FAN Nick and SUPER FAN Paige hit the road. They’re moderately sad. It was an acceptable exit.

Then we got treated to previews for the entire season and lo and behold, it appears that our beloved Stagliano effing proposes!!! I refuse to believe this is true just yet because NO, Stag. Just be normal! Normal people don’t propose in a six-week time span! Stop it!

Whatever.

I’ll keep watching.

So will you.

See ya next week!

Robots & The Trouble They Pose

May 17, 2012

Once upon a time, a million years ago, I rode to school with Sarah’s husband Nick. Parking on UK’s campus was a nightmare and pretty much a battle royale for the best parking passes. I don’t remember what the circumstances were but somehow Nick scored a sweet pass and I must have mooched off him and hitched a ride in his little red truck. Anyways, the point is: I rode to school with Nick and on that 10 minute drive to campus one day I asked him a simple question.

“Nick, what would you do if you found out I was a robot?”

Nick, being a mad scientist* didn’t miss a beat and said, “I’d have to destroy you.”

At the time, I remember being slightly peeved at the fact that my friend so callously told me he’d take no time in taking me out. Just the way things were. Like I imagined he would have a To Do List and it would read something like,

1. Find out Whitney’s a robot.

2. Destroy her accordingly.

3. Dust hands off.

4. Go on with day.

So, back in 2001, I probably hopped out of the truck and was all, “Fine. See ya later, friend,” brooding about it the rest of the day. Now, you would THINK I would have forgotten this story being that it happened over ten years ago, but NO. Every time I hear about a robot or see a cyborg in a movie I always automatically think, “Man, if that was me, Nick would come along and just put an end to my existence…”

And then, the other day, Christina posted this on my Facebook wall:

Dammit. Nick totally knew what he was talking about.

*Nick is not really a mad scientist. He is, however, a scientist, so I like to imagine him being of the Doc Brown variety.

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