Meant to Be

Morrill, Lauren. Meant to Be (2012). Delacorte Press. 306 Pages. $5.99

11721314Before even beginning my review, I just… this is a Teen book. Deliberately with a capital T. It is about teens having teen adventures and finding teen romance, and that is awesome, and I enjoyed reading it, but if you choose to do so based upon my review (to follow) please do be aware of that.

From Amazon

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

First Lines

There are certain things in life that just suck. Pouring a big bowl of Lucky Charms before realizing the milk is expired, the word “moist,” falling face-first into the salad bar in front of the entire lacrosse team…

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Filed under Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Fantasy, Romance, Teen Fiction, Young Adult Fiction

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Taylor, Laini. Daughter of Smoke & Bone (2012). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 448 Pages. $12.00

Daughter Of Smoke & Bone | Book One

DSB_final_6_1From Goodreads

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

First Lines

Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Kaoru had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness. It was cold, and it was dark – in the dead of winter the sun didn’t rise until eight – but it was also lovely. The falling snow and the early hour conspired to paint Prague ghostly, like a tintype photograph, all silver and haze.

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Hyperbole and a Half

Brosh, Allie. Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened (2013). Touchstone. 384 Pages. $6.99

Book Cover Final threeFrom Amazon

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative– like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it– but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

First Lines

It seems like there should be some sort of introduction to this.

Here is a recreation of a drawing I did when I was five:

It’s a guy with one normal arm and one absurdly fucking squiggly arm, If you look really closely you can see the normal arm under the squiggly one. What you can’t see is that in the original, the squiggly arm continues for the entire length of a roll of butcher paper. It started on one end and then just kept going until I ran out of paper.

I remember drawing it and thinking. This is insane… I can’t even believe how long this guy’s arm is. If I had not run out of paper, who knows what would have happened.

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Filed under Book Review, Humor, NonFiction

Let’s Pretend this Never Happened

Lawson, Jenny. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir (2012). Berkeley Trade. 384 Pages. $7.99

letpretendthisneverhappened31From Amazon

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

First Lines

This book is totally true, except for the parts that aren’t. It’s basically like Little House on the Prairie but with more cursing. And I know, you’re thinking “But Little House on the Prairie was totally true!” and no, I’m sorry, but it wasn’t. Laura Ingalls was a compulsive liar with no fact-checker and probably if she was still alive today her mom would be saying “I don’t know how Laura came up with this whole ‘I’m-a-small-girl-on-the-prairie’ story. We lived in New Jersey with her aunt Frieda and our dog, Mary, who was blinded when Laura tried to bleach a lightning bolt on her forehead…”

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, Humor, NonFiction

Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes

O’Brien, Cory. Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes: A No-Bullshit Guide to World Mythology (2013). Perigee Trade. 304 Pages. $10.92

tumblr_ncowy3sgun1sokmcuo5_r1_1280From Goodreads:

All our lives, we’ve been fed watered-down, PC versions of the classic myths. In reality, mythology is more screwed up than a schizophrenic shaman doing hits of unidentified. Wait, it all makes sense now. In Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes, Cory O’Brien, creator of Myths RETOLD!, sets the stories straight. These are rude, crude, totally sacred texts told the way they were meant to be told: loudly, and with lots of four-letter words. Skeptical? Here are just a few gems to consider:

  • Zeus once stuffed an unborn fetus inside his thigh to save its life after he exploded its mother by being too good in bed.
  • The entire Egyptian universe was saved because Sekhmet just got too hammered to keep murdering everyone.
  • The Hindu universe is run by a married couple who only stop murdering in order to throw sweet dance parties… on the corpses of their enemies.
  • The Norse goddess Freyja once consented to a four-dwarf gangbang in exchange for one shiny necklace.

And there’s more dysfunctional goodness where that came from.

First Lines


(Or the Part of This Book You Can Safely Tear Out If You Need to Make It Slightly Lighter for Some Reason)

‘Sup guys.

Here is a book I wrote, and I hope you enjoy it.

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Filed under Adult Fiction, Book Review, General Fiction, Humor

The Glass Magician

Holmberg, Charlie N. The Glass Magician (2014). 47North. 226 Pages. $4.99

The Paper Magician | Book Two

22341276Notes & Disclaimers:

  • I received a copy for review through NetGalley.
  • This review is pre-release. Expected publication is November 4, 2014.
  • Because this is the second book in a series, there may be spoilers for the first book, The Paper MagicianProceed with caution.

From Amazon

Three months after returning Magician Emery Thane’s heart to his body, Ceony Twill is well on her way to becoming a Folder. Unfortunately, not all of Ceony’s thoughts have been focused on paper magic. Though she was promised romance by a fortuity box, Ceony still hasn’t broken the teacher-student barrier with Emery, despite their growing closeness.

When a magician with a penchant for revenge believes that Ceony possesses a secret, he vows to discover it…even if it tears apart the very fabric of their magical world. After a series of attacks target Ceony and catch those she holds most dear in the crossfire, Ceony knows she must find the true limits of her powers…and keep her knowledge from falling into wayward hands.

First Lines

A late summer breeze wafted through the open kitchen window, making the twenty tiny flames upon Ceony’s cake dance back and forth on their candlewicks. Ceony hadn’t made the cake, of course, as one should never bake her own birthday cake, but her mother was a good cook and a better baker, so Ceony had no doubts that the confection, complete with pink cherry frosting and jelly filling, would be delicious.

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Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction

The Paper Magician

Holmberg, Charlie N. The Paper Magician (2014). 47North. 226 Pages. $4.99

The Paper Magician | Book One

20727654From Amazon:

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined—animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner—a practitioner of dark, flesh magic—invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

First Lines

For the past five years, Ceony had wanted to be a Smelter.

However, while most graduates of the Tagis Praff school for the Magically Inclined got to choose what material they dedicated their craft to, Ceony had been assigned. “Not enough Folders,” Magician Aviosky had explained in her office.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction