I’m Special and other lies we tell ourselves to get through our twenties by Ryan O’Connell: Book Review

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Synopsis: This hilarious part-memoir, part-manifesto reveals what sets apart the latest generation of young people coming of age in an all-wired, overeducated, and underemployed world.

People are obsessed with Ryan O’Connell’s blogs. With tens of thousands reading his pieces on Thought Catalog and Vice,watching his videos on YouTube, and hanging on to each and every #dark tweet, Ryan has established himself as a unique young voice who’s not afraid to dole out some real talk. He’s that candid, snarky friend you consult when you fear you’re spending too much time falling down virtual k-holes stalking your ex on Facebook or when you’ve made the all-too-common mistake of befriending a psycho while wasted at last night’s party and need to find a way to get rid of them the next morning. But Ryan didn’t always have the answers to these modern day dilemmas. Growing up gay and disabled with cerebral palsy, he constantly felt like he was one step behind everybody else. Then the rude curveball known as your twenties happened and things got even more confusing.

Ryan spent years as a Millennial cliché: he had dead-end internships; dabbled in unemployment; worked in his pajamas as a blogger; communicated mostly via text; looked for love online; spent hundreds on “necessary” items, like candles, while claiming to have no money; and even descended into aimless pill-popping. But through extensive trial and error, Ryan eventually figured out how to take his life from bleak to chic and began limping towards adulthood.

Sharp and entertaining, I’m Special will educate twentysomethings (or other adolescents-at-heart) on what NOT to do if they ever want to become happy fully functioning grown ups with a 401k and a dog.

Date of Publication: June 2, 2015

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Date Read: February 25, 2015

No. of Pages: 208

Source: Net Galley.

Review:

Truer words were never spoken.

I got a copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. All I can say is: truer words were never spoken. Ryan O’Connell was able to present the life of twentysomethings in this wild, messy, complicated roller-coaster ride, and I couldn’t help but agree on the majority of the book. Being a twentysomething myself, I, too, have been to toxic friendships, unrequited love down to ugly relationships, and to read something like this serves as an affirmation that despite the shitty hands that we were dealt with, we can bounce back, it is just a matter of discipline and our eagerness to make a difference out of our chaotic lives. Yes, that classmate in high school who constantly posts happy photos from a vacation spent with dear friends in some exclusive island is probably as lost and as unsure of her life as you are, that college friend who posted a picture of her bright shiny red car is probably living on crackers to tide her for the week – this book made me realize that twentysomethings, including myself, loved to live in a big facade. Constantly itching to show the world only the nice things that are happening to their pathetic lives. Being a twentysomething is like being in a Britney Spears’ song Not a girl, not yet a woman. The transition is scary and more often than not, we like to stay at the shore than swim against the waves, but once we’ve kissed the ocean we are so desperate to stay afloat that we forget to breathe for a while, to enjoy how the sun kissed your skin, we forget the simple things. This wonderful made me realize that there are far more important things in life than trying to please everyone, that people will perpetually fail you in ways you cannot imagine, that at the end of a tiring day all you truly have is yourself. This book can be the bible of twentysomethings, and I am really glad I read it! Kudos to the author for writing such an incredible book!

Rating: 5 stars

“I don’t regret anything. And neither should you. You should remember all of it. You should remember all the time you wasted in your bed, or someone else’s bed or at some bar where you overheard the same drippy conversations. You should remember how thin you once were despite subsisting on beer and pizza. You should remember all the people you tried to love all the people who tried to love you. All the awful overpriced apartments, all the toxic friendships, and all the money you spent on things you can no longer recall. Then I want you to remember the moment you developed a keen understanding of what works for you and what doesn’t. I want you to remember being comfortable in your own skin and not feeling like you have to apologize for every little thing, I want you to remember the first time you decided not to put the entirety of your self worth in someone’s careless hands. Because moments like those are the most valuable – instances in which you felt yourself no longer becoming the person you want to but already being it. That’s pretty fucking special.”

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Captive by Brighton Walsh: Book Review

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Synopsis: He’s the most dangerous man she’s ever met…and she’s falling in love with him.Madison Frost is desperate to escape her life. Daughter of a prominent businessman, she has everything a girl could ask for. Except for a family who’s present in her life, and anyone to talk to outside the four walls of the prison she calls home. Madison dreams of one day leaving her life behind. She never thought being kidnapped is how it would happen.Now she’s being held captive by a man who’s as frightening as he is sinfully gorgeous. Enormous, muscular, and filled with secrets, the man they call Ghost is an enigmatic mercenary, and Madison is trapped with him. She doesn’t know who hired him or why, but the more time she spends at his mercy, the more she realizes he’s not what he seems. Beneath his rough exterior lies an unexpected gentleness and a heart as broken and battered as her own.But as Madison lets down her walls, Ghost holds tight to his, hiding secrets that could destroy everything.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of Publication: March 24, 2015

Date Read: February 10, 2015

No. of Pages: 288

Source: Net Galley

REVIEW

It will be impossible to put this book down. It was so engrossing, it’ll be a stupid idea to stop. 

I received an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. The only time I put down this book was when I had to participate in this stubborn thing called life which included, work, sleeping, eating and talking to other living and breathing human, take all that and you will find me gushing and swooning over this book, that’s how engrossed I was.  I am such a sucker for this kind of stories, I could read a story like this in any given day. But this book is different from all the stories with the same story line I have read, usually when a man takes captive of a woman, the said man will be rough bordering abusive or downright possessive with next to nothing moral fiber within him. it will be cringe-worthy and you have to stomach everything inhumane done to the woman, but this book is entirely different and that’s the main thing that made me fall in love with this book, and boy I fell fast and hard! Ghost was nothing but gentle, caring and tender it was a side of a captor that was not so commonly painted in other books. And Madison, though naive had balls, had the guts, he was her own heroine.

I loved how the story progressed. How all the secrets unfold, though I already knew that would be the big twist, still it was well played out. I loved how everything happened not in an instant but gradually, it wasn’t like the first time they laid eyes on each other the connection was already palpable, that Madison would easily fall for Ghost’s icy blue eyes, no it wasn’t the case. It was as real as it could get, the author didn’t immediately jump into forcing the main characters into each other and for a reader who have read too much instant affection to last her a lifetime, I really appreciated this one.

I loved the writing style too and the dual point of view, I specifically liked when Ghost was the one narrating. I also commend the fact that Madison was described as lush however it didn’t sit well with me that she had all these insecurities eating her away, but it was part of the story so in the grand scheme of things it was still good. I loved Ghost, did I mention that already? Goodness, why does he have to be so.. so lovable? I mean come on, what is not to love? This guy, is quite the guy!

I loved Captive!!! I can’t wait to read more of Brighton Walsh’s work! I heard she’s an awesome writer, well I could totally see why! Solid five stars for this one!

Rating: 5 stars

Sometimes the unknown was better than what was staring you in the face. 

Only For Him by Cristin Harber: Book Review

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Synopsis:

Grayson Ford and Emma Kinglsey—close since they were kids, opposites in every way. He’s the stuff high school crushes are made of, Mister Popular, and captain of every team. She’s artsy, cute, and not in his league, though fully aware of Summerland’s “I Dream of Dating Grayson Ford” support group.

I can’t say no. The girl’s had my heart since before I knew it went missing.

He hides a life of hell. His father hates him, his mother’s gone. Emma is his only savior, yet she doesn’t know her power over him. She’s the only girl he wants, the only one he could ever tell—though he won’t.

I’m stronger, bigger, more of a man than he’ll ever be, but because I ruined his life, I’ve taken his crap, his attacks, the vulgar nature of his existence.

Until she discovers Gray’s embarrassment, his humiliation. Emma fights for him, for a chance. Theirs is a Cinderella story that she believes impossible. But as the layers peel back, it’s just a guy who needs a girl in order to keep breathing.

My mind is already doodling Mrs. Grayson Ford in imaginary notebooks. He has no clue where my head is at… But, given that I didn’t see what just happened coming, maybe I have no clue where his head is at either.
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* ONLY FOR HIM is the first book in the Only series, all of which will release in Spring 2015. (less)

Publication Date: February 24, 2015

Source: Netgalley

Date Read: January 30, 2015

Review:

Ahhh cliffhanger!!!

Why must the author do this??? Give me the second book!! Shit.Shoot.Shit (sorry I always make reference to the book I just read, don’t worry you’ll get me after reading this book) I got an arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. First, I requested this one from netgalley because I was in the mood for some new adult, and as most of you may know, new adults often run the same storyline, that after you have read so many of them you could not actually pinpoint which is which. Sad to say, but this book will soon have the same fate, it can easily be mistaken from another novel. Let’s just say that it isn’t something you have not seen before. It was familiar as it was generic. But don’t get me all wrong about it, I really enjoyed it in its truest and sincerest sense, because I am such a sucker for romance and those cheesy stuff. What I’m saying is you can give this a try, and there is a big probability that you will like and enjoy it too.

The storyline goes something like this, they were best friends and is in love with each other since forever but is too afraid to admit it to each other. And then there are buried secrets that would change everything. You get the idea, I think that is the theme of new adult novels nowadays. I am not saying it is particularly bad, but I just wished there is something more to it, something fresh, something that would make it a cut above the rest.

One more issue is the description of the characters, the guy – Grayson Ford was described as the beach god, hot with soapy scent and all that jazz – again the all too familiar descriptions of guys in books, I know it is supposed to make girls like me swoon and all, I did swoon, yes, but after a while, when the same thing is repeated over and over, it gets old. And of course the description of the girl – Emma Kingsley, of course she thinks she’s not beautiful enough for a god like Grayson Ford, it took every ounce of patience in me not to roll my eyes because obviously Grayson’s world revolved around her. I have seen this too many times, and yes it does get old.

Secondly, well this time I am going to say something positive. I don’t want you to get the idea that I loathed the book, because I really liked it. I loved the huge turn of events! I was shocked it had come to that. I was itching to know what happened after the beach and to Grayson’s mom. Props to the author for being such a tease, now I will have to patiently wait for the next book. I loved the character growth and the progress of the story. I loved that it started in highscool and ended when they are adults. You can see the transition, Emma being the reserved type in the beginning then letting loose towards the end and Grayson, well he was consistent, I don’t know if I like it or not. He had been second guessing himself most of the time and always throwing the pity-party, which I wish he could just snap out of sooner rather than later.

Thirdly, I liked the cover, not too over the top and not too simple, just right. And I also love the two point of views! Now I wish the second book will be greater, because as I have said a million times I need the book two like yesterday! So all in all I enjoyed it, so if you fancy reading New Adults and the romantic stuff. Then this book is definitely for you!

Rating:4 stars

The girl’s had my heart since before I knew it went missing.

Candy Darling: Memoirs of an Andy Warhol Superstar by Candy Darling, James Rasin (Book Review)

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Synopsis: A look into what moved Andy Warhol’s greatest muse

Located at 33 Union Square West in the heart of New York City’s pulsing downtown scene, Andy Warhol’s Factory was an artistic anomaly. Not simply a painter’s studio, it was the center of Warhol’s assembly-line production of films, books, art, and the groundbreaking Interviewmagazine. Although Warhol’s first Factory on East 47th Street was known for its space-age silver interior, the Union Square Factory became the heart, brain, eyes, and soul of all things Warhol—and was, famously, the site of the assassination attempt that nearly took his life. It also produced a subculture of Factory denizens known as superstars, a collection of talented and ambitious misfits, the most glamorous and provocative of whom was the transgender pioneer Candy Darling.

Born James Slattery in Queens in 1944 and raised on Long Island, the author began developing a female identity as a young child. Carefully imitating the sirens of Hollywood’s golden age, young Jimmy had, by his early twenties, transformed into Candy, embodying the essence of silver-screen femininity, and in the process became her true self.

Warhol, who found the whole dizzying package irresistible, cast Candy in his films Flesh and Women in Revolt and turned her into the superstar she was born to be. In her writing, Darling provides an illuminating look at what it was like to be transgender at a time when the gay rights movement was coming into its own. Blessed with a candor, wit, and style that inspired not only Warhol, but Tennessee Williams, Lou Reed, and Robert Mapplethorpe, Darling made an indelible mark on American culture during one of its most revolutionary eras. These memoirs depict a talented and tragic heroine who was taken away from us far too soon

Publication date: February 17, 2015

Date Read: January 15, 2015

Source: Net Galley

Publisher: Open Road Media

No. of Pages: 230

Review:

Inspirational as it was tragic. 

I requested a copy from NetGalley and they were more than willing to approve said request. And I was more than happy to have read such an inspiring and moving book. I particularly loved that I could identify with the book in more ways than one, though there are close to none similarities between Candy Darling’s life then and my life now. I guess everything she said in her letters still hold true today. The fact that Candy Darling stayed true to who she was, despite the few setbacks and despite that her being a transgender was not as openly accepted as it is today – she was her own beacon of hope, her own light at the end of the tunnel. She truly believed in herself and her capabilities – she took the word respectable to whole new level. I loved how this memoir depicted her struggles to be accepted and respected, and to be loved – in which until today these are what people truly long for, just in a different circumstance. Her passion in everything she did will never go unnoticed. She was a dreamer and a pursuer, I loved how this book was able to send its message across – that life is what we make of it, and in the end it will always be our choice that would matter.

Her diary entries and letters shed a light on how she lived her life, how there were struggles and there were victories, how there was longing for acceptance and validation. It is very inspiring, her voice is so alive as if she was the one talking to you. It was tragic that her life ended too soon at the age of 29, she could have seen better days. Through her diary and letters her life lives on, she left a legacy, she left something truly amazing.

The cover is amazing, showed how colorful Candy Darling’s life was. I had issues with the format of the whole book, but I overlooked said fact, as I was after the contents of the memoir.

RATING: 5 stars

You must always be yourself no matter what the price. It is the highest form of morality. We should both try to live it. You’ve got to always keep your heart and mind open. You can disguise your emotions, you can even numb them, and finally you can paralyze them. And that is tragic. Our emotions are the only clues to our identity. The only true meaning in life is passion. The passion to learn, to paint, to love, etc. Don’t dare destroy your passion for the sake of others. When you do you’ve lost the beauty of life, and that’s what a sin is. By robbing yourself of your very reason to exist, you have cheated. You must laugh when you must laugh, you must weep when you must weep, and you must love when you must love.” 

Broken by Traci L. Slatton: Book Review

Synopsis: Power is pornographic Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in? Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German Occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all? Date Published: September 5, 2014 Publisher: Parvati Press Source: Net Galley Date Read: December 2014

Synopsis: Power is pornographic
Can love sustain light when the forces of evil close in?
Paris, 1939-1942. A fallen angel is trapped in the web of German Occupation. The deadly noose of Nazi control grows ever tighter, ensnaring her and two of her lovers, a bullfighter and a musician working in the fledgling Resistance. Can she save them and the Jewish widow and her child that she has come to love, or will betrayal take them all?
Date Published: September 5, 2014
Publisher: Parvati Press
Source: Net Galley
Date Read: December 2014

REVIEW:

I received an advance reader’s copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Historical fiction, I have to admit is an uncharted territory, I can not go on claiming I am adept at it, I was only able to scratch the surface, and so because of this, I took a challenge to read this book, see if my young love for historical fiction will bloom, did it? Absolutely yes, this book made me want to read tons of historical fiction.

I was engrossed by the fact that it involved fallen angels, to me it was something out of the ordinary. The first few pages engulfed me and got me hooked, not by the premise alone, but because of the majestic way of how it was so well-written, I kid you not, the chosen words were flawless, the description of the scenes were vivid, You will fall in love with how each sentences were written.
The story started off with Alia, a fallen angel who found refuge into the body of a beautiful woman. Using the body for whatever pleasure she wanted and same pleasure she then returns to another. She lived through fornication, bedding different men – and yes sometimes women. At this point I should have stopped reading. It’s not that I am a sensitive reader, it is just that books with themes like it, are not really my cup of tea, but then there is also this part of me that is eager to learn how will the story progress and I am glad I was able to get past that stage where I was contemplating on continuing or not. I have learned that yes it contains explicit scenes, but the story did not mainly revolve around it. There was far more beautiful story that was brewing, that was the when the Germans took over Paris and Alia is now presented with the predicament on how to protect all the people she values and loves.

As the story progresses, I noticed that there were quite a few scenes that the book can do without. I was a little undecided if I am liking or hating the fact that i had the barest of idea to where the story is taking me, I guess it felt like the story has been dragging on and I could not find the resolution of it all. Also I badly wanted to see where Alia – being a fallen angel comes into play, well aside from the fact the she can see visions and all that, and she could warn them of the impending harm, I guess this fact that she was once an angel can be dispensed with, I mean the book would have been the same if Alia had been just a normal woman. I just thought the fantasy part of the story did not mix well with the story, if for anything – it was put there to make everything seemed convenient. It was not until the last part that the fact that she was a fallen angel played an important part, however again that ending lacked something I cannot quite put my finger into. It felt like the ending was rushed. \

All in all, I still enjoyed the book and it would not be the last book by the author that I will be reading.

RATING: 3 stars

Human beings are complex creatures, caught up in great arcs of cause and effect and poised at the very center of a battle between love and separation.