Gaming Masculinity by Megan Condis

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Information:

Genre: Nonfiction, Pop Culture, Feminism
Target Audience: Teen to Adult
Warnings: The harsh reality women face
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Megan examines the toxic masculinity women, pocs, and people of different sexual orientations face in the gaming community.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book through netgalley for my full and honest review.

I’ll be honest in saying this was a hard read for me. I’ve been playing video games since I was two years old. It’s something that is a very big part of my life. Problem is I’ve faced a lot of the toxic masculinity described in this book. As a female who enjoys gaming, you’re treated like an oddity by the community which is bullshit but it’s, unfortunately, the truth.

Megan does an interesting examination of the whys behind the actions of males and even females who participate in this behavior. You learn about all sorts of absolutely disgusting incidents that have sadly become a meme, a joke, or forgotten about completely.

I do wish that with all the discussions behind the whys of such behavior that there would have been a conversation about the effects of such behavior aside from ‘such and such woman was harassed’. Women go through such hardships in the community that I feel it’s an injustice not to talk about the everyday mental effects such actions have on them.

Also somehow dick pics never made it into mention. Which I find a little odd. Still, overall the book is really solid and the psychological research provides interesting insight. I’d recommend this to all who want to learn a bit more about pop culture and feminism.

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Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

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Information:

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Target Audience: Adult
Warnings: Piss your pants laughter
Rating 10 out of 5

Summary:

Shelly Laurenston is back continuing in her Pride world with a new series. When Grizzly shifter Berg Dunn first meets Charlie MacKilligan she’s buck ass naked and demands his best gun. Things only get crazier from there.

Review:

I received an arc of this book from netgalley from my honest review.

BLESS THE LORD SHELLY LAURENSTON IS BACK. I am a huge fan of Shelly Laurenston/G.A. Aiken. I’ve been following her since the Magnus pack was published. That lead to the Pride series which led to it being completed and me in a corner weeping in the fetal position. Now she is back with a brand new series set in the Pride world. Now you don’t need to have read the pride series to jump right into this one but it adds so much to it as we see some ole faves return.

Listen I’m just gonna gush about the amazingness of this book. The humor had me in tears. The bond between Charlie and her sisters is just amazing. Berg is great. The romance between him and Charlie is hot hot hot. Overall it’s everything I wanted.

I will say I was surprised by the amount of romance in the book. It’s a lot less than previous entries in this world. There was only one sex scene even. While that’s not a negative those going into this just for the romance and the sex should be warned.

Personally, I can’t recommend this book or Shelly Laurentston in general enough. This is for everyone who needs a laugh and some excitement in their life. NOW GET READING. *tosses copies at people* Also Shelly if you are reading this, Please miss can I have some more?!

 

 

Unicorn Food by Sandra Mahut

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Information:

Genre: Cooking
Target Audience: All ages
Warnings: None
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

A cookbook based on colorful ‘unicorn’ food.

Review:

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley. This has in no way affected my opinion or this review.

I’ll be honest in saying this is my first time reviewing a cookbook so hopefully, if there is an issue with the review you’ll leave a comment.

This cookbook obviously came about due to the unicorn trend. It seems to be catered for pinterest and instagram. It is filled with recipes for vegans and vegetarians. Which I thought was a nice touch as it promotes a more healthy style of cooking even teaching you how to make the food dye.

I tried a few of the recipes and they turned out great. I made the mocktail (which I added some rum to). It was colorful and tasty. I also made the unicorns though mine had the horns coming off. I’m not the best at making cookies.

There is something in here for everyone. They’ve got sweets, drinks, pasta, and so much more. So if you can’t find at least two recipes in this book then you are just being picky.

The only real criticism I have for this book is the pictures. The cover is great which I find funny considering the cover uses a picture for one of the recipes yet the picture inside the book is poor quality. Some of the pictures are such poor quality it’s hard to tell what some of the objects in the photos are. For a cookbook especially one that is trying to target pinterest and instagram users that is a big drawback. I want to be able to see clearly what the food is supposed to look like when it is done.

I will state that the copy of the cookbook was an ebook. So it is possible that the pictures are better in the physical copy but since I have no way of knowing that I’m docking a star.

Still, I’d recommend this cookbook to anyone who loves unicorns, color, vegetarian/vegan dishes, and those who have kids. It’s a fun little find.

Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodríguez McRobbie

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Information:

Genre: History, Nonfiction?, Feminism?
Target Audience: Young adult to adult
Warnings: It’s history so there is murder, incest, and so much more.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Summary:

Mini-biographies on princesses who didn’t obey the rules.

Review:

I received a free copy of the book from Netgalley. This does not influence my opinon or review in anyway.

If you can’t tell from the two question marks in the genre section I’m a bit conflicted about this book. The book is an interesting premise. A book that gives mini-biographies on princesses who broke the rules of their time. Unfortunately, it’s executed very poorly.

Part of the problem is the fact that even though the book is supposed to be about real princesses it includes princesses from folklore and mythology. Considering how many interested queens and princesses the author could have featured instead this is more than a little disappointing.

Another major issue I had was how some of the women are talked about in this book. Despite claiming to be a feminist book there is more than a little anti-feminist ideals attached to the book. One chapter is even titled, floozies. We also have the author crapping on Disney princesses at the beginning of the book and those who wanted to be them.

We also have portions of certain topics where the author embellishes on things to make the book more exciting. When talking about Princess Margaret the Countess of Snowdon she brought up a bank robbery in 1971 that has in recent years been rumored to be a job by M15 to retrieve compromising pictures of the princess. The problem is that there is no evidence of this. So when the author titled her section on Margaret, the princess who caused a bank robbery, it seems more than a little misleading. This is done several times throughout the book.

Some inclusions outside of the fictional princesses also caused me to raise an eyebrow. The former Princess Nori, now Sayako Kuroda, is included in this book. Yes, she gave up her title for love, which is the section the author put her under, but she never ‘behaved badly’ or broke rules so she doesn’t seem to fit this book. The author made the mistake of calling her Princess Sayako. She was never Princess Sayako she was given the title of Princess Nori.

The books writing style was an issue for me. It came off as if I was reading a gossip magazine or the section of Seventeen where they talk about celebrities. It just felt very off from what the introduction said the book wanted to accomplish. It did make the book easy to read.

The book was riddled with grammar errors and spelling mistakes.  I had to double check that this book came out in 2013. There is no excuse for any book to have this many mistakes after publication.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy certain parts of this book. I liked the fact the author acknowledged the fact that Juana the mad’s family claimed she was mad to steal political power from her. There were also several princesses I had never heard of before this book.

It’s hard for me to really recommend this book. The historical errors, editing mistakes, and other problems make it one I think readers should skip.

 

Ten by Gretchen Mcneil

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Information:

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Target Audience: Young Adult
Warnings: Poor portrayal of mental illness
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Summary:

Ten teenagers meet on an island house for a weekend party. It’s supposed to be the party of a lifetime. They didn’t know that by coming they’d risk their lives. The danger becomes all too obvious as they start dying off one by one.

Review:

Gretchen McNeil is clearly inspired by Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. The whole island no one can get to, a  gathering happening, and then murders occurring one by one with a race to discover the killer. That’s where the similarities end luckily despite some claims from other reviewers.

This is the kind of book I both love and hate. You’re never bored with it and it’s about 300 pages.  It’s a fast-paced ya read. I got through it in about two hours. The plot is a bit eye-rolling at times. You really don’t buy the fact that the killer managed to pull off this whole elaborate plot.

The characters suffer for the short amount of pages. Most of the characters are very one note and we hardly get any time with them. Several of them have such irritating personality types I wondered how people could be friends with them. One character, in particular, Minnie, was unbearable.

This brings up the biggest problem I had with the book. The portrayal of mental illness. Minnie is a terrible person and often times an even worse friend. Her actions are often written off as being done because of her mental illness. Her mental illness is also treated as a shameful secret and a way to manipulate the main character, her best friend Meg,  into putting up with her.

I will applaud the book on two subjects. The first being its use of technology. The book surprised me by bringing up several ways everyone could use technology to contact the outside world. One scene really showed the author knew quite a bit about computers. The second subject is the diversity of characters. There were two Asian characters, the main love interest was black, and there was also a Samoan character. It was refreshing to see that level of diversity in a ya novel.

Still, all this being said it’s hard for me to give the book a recommendation. If you can handle a really insulting portrayal of mental illness then it’s a fun read for a lazy day. You won’t really miss anything if you skip it though.

Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand

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Information:

Genre: Horror, Mystery
Target Audience: Adult but appropriate for young adults as well.
Warnings: None
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary:

Nearly forty years ago a British acid-folk band by the name of Windhollow Faire was sent to Wylding Hall to work on their second album in peace after the suicide of one of their bandmates. Many strange things happen at Wylding Hall all leading up to the disappearance of their lead songwriter and singer Julian Blake. Now the former members of Windhollow Faire gather together along with their manager, a photographer, an ex-girlfriend, and a reporter to talk about the events for a documentary.

 

Review:

This was a refreshing find for me. I had never heard of Elizabeth Hand before but Wylding Hall kept popping up on Bookriot for suggested horror books. So after sitting on my TBR list for awhile I finally decided to give it a read and what a read it was. This is a good old-fashioned gothic horror story. We don’t have any very graphic horror moments. By that I mean we aren’t finding chopped up corpses or anything like that. So the book relies solely on tense moments described to us by the members of Windhollow Faire and those associated with the events at Wylding Hall.

The story is told in an odd fashion. It’s like we’re reading the transcript of a documentary. Each character talks a little bit on a subject and then one leads us to our next subject until we get a story of all the events. At least all the events to the recollection of those involved. Several of the characters were constantly drinking or doing drugs, nothing stronger than weed, so not all the events are remembered clearly.

The book is a rarity for me in that I think it would have worked better as an audiobook. Simply because if it was going to be in this format it would have taken it to another level and made things even tenser I think. Simply because it’s a very light horror story. There aren’t really any scares. So hearing the fear and dread the characters had involving Wylding Hall would have amped it up.

The writing is very good, the characters are interesting, and the pace is slow to add intensity but fast enough to keep us constantly interested. I think making this a short novel really worked in Elizabeth Hand’s favor. If the book was full length I don’t think the pacing and even the documentary interview style telling of the story would have worked.

Sadly though the ending was a bit of a disappointment for me. We barely get any time with our supernatural entity and we never really get any answers on why things were happening at Wylding Hall. Adding the few scares we get along the way it feels like the book was building to something only to keep the same notes instead of hitting the climax. I don’t mind some things being left open when it comes to horror but this book just left a bit too much open for my taste.

I would like to applaud the people behind the cover of the book. The cover of the book is supposed to be the same as the cover for Windhollow Faire’s second album, also called Wylding Hall, and it works perfectly. When you find out the story behind the image the fact they used it as the cover for the book made me so happy. It was just a brilliant marketing choice and one of the best covers I’ve seen.

I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a light fast-paced short horror story. It’s definitely convinced me I need to check out more of Elizabeth Hand’s work. Hopefully, it’ll do the same for you.

The Crime Book by DK

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Information:

Genre: Nonfiction, True Crime, History
Target Audience: Adult
Warning: Violence though that’s obvious XD
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Summary:

This book focuses on true crime. From con artists to thieves to murderers to serial killers it’s all discussed within the pages of this book. Giving brief descriptions so you know the bare bones of the cases.

Review:

First off I’d like to state I was given a review copy through NetGalley.  This in no way has affected my opinion or this review.

I would also like to state there seemed to be a little hiccup with my copy. When I got to the serial killer section, the very last section, the book started skipping even number pages. Now since this was the last section and the section I already knew most about since I had read about each of the serial killers they covered in other books I felt that I could do a proper review despite the page skipping. I will not be knocking back points for what seems to have been a glitch. I looked at several reviews on NetGalley and goodreads and no one has mentioned their ebooks or physical copies acting up the way mine did.

I’m a huge fan of true crime stories. There is something fascinating about looking at the darker side of the world from a safe distance. I first got into reading true crime books when I was thirteen years old. I will also admit to being a bit of an Investigation Discovery Channel Addict. So it came as no surprise to me when I found I knew quite a bit of information found in this book.

This is an entry in the Big Ideas Explained Simply series from DK. It’s a series that simplifies subjects such as psychology, religion, and now crime. You’re not going to get a thousand page description of each case. Each case which is separated by sections, such as con-artist and serial killer, is done chronologically. The cases are given on average two to three pages each though some get more. A prime example of this would be the section covering the O.J. Simpson case that got a whopping four pages.

Now each case has pictures and so on. As well as being divided into subsections to make for even easier reading. This makes it very easy to navigate as well as making sure you never lose your spot. It also allows for ease of either reading the book regularly or jumping around to the cases you are most interested in.

Safe to say this isn’t really a book for the more regular true crime reader. Not to say that they wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s more of the fact most will already know quite a bit of what’s found on certain subjects. They will also likely be like me and get frustrated with the fact we don’t get more. I don’t blame that on the book in anyway. The book’s purpose is to briefly go over some of the biggest cases it’s not meant to give us ever piece of information. Still, for someone who loves true crime as much as I do it made me want to seek out  books that covered certain cases solely. That way I’d get all the information I could want.

I really do recommend this book for people who are beginning to have an interest in the true crime genre. This will really help you find cases you’d be interest in learning more about. The book is just so reader friendly and engaging. When I read nonfiction books I like to be able to take breaks so I can absorb the information. The set up of the book easily allows you to jump in at any point without missing a beat. Go check it out so you can join me in my Jack the Ripper theorizing.