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Memoirs, movie related topics, Non-Fiction

Book Review: Not All Diamonds and Rose by David Quinn

Not All Diamonds and Rose is the official Bravo/Andy Cohen approved memoir of sorts of the Real Housewives franchise. Spanning interviews from majority of the women from across franchises – from OG’s to one season’ers, execs and producers behind the scenes. People editor, David Quinn crafts a story from words straight from the horse’s mouth and provides us with behind the scenes insight into well known scenes and things we hadn’t heard about before.

I am a reality show junkie and a fan of the Housewives franchise. Translation – I have watched every single episode of every single franchise since inception. I was excited to read this because I can never get enough information on them. I had recently read a rival book, The Housewives: The Real Story Behind The Real Housewives by Brian Moylan. Besides thinking the writing was not the best, my biggest criticism was that as a non-casual fan, I didn’t think there was anything I didn’t know before, I learned nothing new. It was revealed that he was blacklisted and the past and former housewives were instructed not to speak to him. Now we know that it’s because this book was coming out.

It was different with this book, I learned new info or as the kids say, got some new tea and that was all I needed. Granted some people think it was edited and we don’t get the full story since it is being controlled by Bravo, that’s fair but I think even with that, they shared enough to titillate the fans’ senses. At the end of the day, it is still a brand and I expect them to protect it.

I enjoyed the format of the book. It was written interview style and you can tell when the same people were asked the same question or if rivals were confronted with the answer the other gave. It was very reminiscent of how the interviews are held on the shows themselves so you really feel like you were still in the Housewives world. You could tell the Housewives understood the assignment and didn’t hold themselves back. The way it was written, each franchise was in chronological order of when they debuted, with quotes from the cast and producers. Each chapter followed the same formula: origin of picking the city, casting, hitting big, a memorable fight, when things fell apart and I enjoyed it for each franchise especially for those I wondered how they got cast.

My favorite cities recounted were RHOC, RHOA and RHONJ and I enjoyed them for different reasons. RHOC was truly a trip down memory lane (so much so, I went back to watch some episodes with new eyes and new info), RHOA for how much behind the scenes info the producer Carlos King gave and RHONJ for the confirmation on how much Theresa hates her sister-in-law (lol) and the wild story on how the cast got arrested in Dominican Republic and have never been back since then.

A question I got asked a lot is if a casual viewer would enjoy this book and I really don’t know the answer because I read it as a full on fan so I could identify the major incidents mentioned. The book does a good enough job of summarizing whatever incident it might be but I’d be curious to know what it feels like as a casual or non viewer.

Overall, I recommend this book because it gave me a lot of enjoyment. I gave this book 4 stars because it was not consistent in letting us know how people were cast which was of interest to me. They’d do so for some and for people like Candiace or Wendy on RHOP, I was curious to know who recommended them or how they made the list and that was not included. It was disappointing that some big names weren’t included – Nene, Bethenny. It was unfortunate that this was written before the current Erika fiasco and RHOSLC was not included but regardless, if you are looking for mindless, fun reading, this was it for me.

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Chick-Lit, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical, romance, Uncategorized

What I’ve Been Reading Lately: 4 Quick Fire Reviews

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When I’m not reading the latest literary fiction books, I’m reading backlist titles that are fun and don’t require any thinking on my part. These are the sort of books that have kept my mental health in check this year. Enjoy 4 short reviews for the price of one!

1. The Hike by Drew Magary

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“This future you live in . . . would I like it?” “Honestly, it’s probably not that different from the world you know. Some people are happy. Some people are angry. There are wars. I don’t know if time makes much of a difference. The world changes, but people act the way people always do.”

Ben takes a business trip to rural Pennsylvania and decides to take a hike while waiting for his meeting. He stumbles on a hiking path and starts down the road only to find himself in the middle of a nightmare. He is warned that if he gets off the path he will die. With no other choice but to move forward, Ben finds himself encountering monsters, and talking crabs, men from the 18th century and giants who are trying to kill him. He spends years on the path just trying to find his way home. He is told he just has to stay on the path and track down the “producer” – the creator of this bizarre world to get back to his family.

I picked up this book because it was recommended as a spooky read for halloween. They were wrong because this isn’t a spooky read at all. It reads more as fantasy or an adventure tale. There was nothing scary about it. Also, everyone mentions the last page being amazing. I didn’t think it was that great and I figured it out before I got to the end of the book, maybe because I was looking for it after reading all the reviews that were amazed at the ending.

I gave this one 3 stars on Goodreads. I really don’t know who would enjoy this book. It’s very bizarre but I guess if you liked Alice in Wonderland, you might like this one? It was a fun read to me.

2. Forge of Destiny by Yrsillar (Forge of Destiny #1)

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Ling Qi is a girl who has had to survive in the slums for years but she has just been recruited for having the talent that might make her an immortal in the future if she works hard. Ling is from a world ruled by immortals and stalked by beasts and spirits. The immortals are the richest and most revered members of the empire. Sent to the prestigious Argent Peak Sect to harness her talent, Ling is determined to take advantage of every opportunity given to her at school. She must work hard to catch up with her peers who are from rich immortal families and have been training for this their entire life. The sect grants the students only three months truce, for three months they’re not allowed to kill or fight each other but after the three months all bets are off. Ling struggles to advance and be stronger in time for the end of the truce and also gather enough allies who’ll stand and fight with her when the time comes.

I quite enjoyed this book. It ticked off a lot of my fantasy loves – female protagonist who’s not here to fuck around, school/training a la Harry Potter, strong enemies and allies. If you love progression fantasy, this is the book for you. I really enjoyed this one but I must say it got slow at the end and I wanted to see more of the bigger picture, so I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads. Ill definitely be continuing the series.

3. Iron Prince by Bryce O’Connor and Luke Chmilenko (Warformed: Stormweaver #1)

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Afflicted with a painful disease and abandoned by his parents because it, Reidon has been a ward of the state all of his life. He has had to fight all his life for a place at the academy where he has been training and getting beat up. His perseverance gets him noticed by the most powerful artificial intelligence in human history who grants him a CAD – a Combat Assistant Device- with awful specs but an infinite potential for growth. Reidon is at the bottom of his class at Galens Institute with everyone wondering why the reputable school admitted someone with such horrible specs. He becomes a target for everyone who thinks he shouldn’t be there. Reidon begins a slow but determined journey up the school rankings determined to be the greatest fighter the universe has ever seen.

Again, I love fantasy books set in school and this was such a fun read. I love main characters who are underdogs and you get to root for them as they defy the odds. I gave this one 4 stars on Goodreads. It’s nothing deep but if you’re looking for fantasy that you don’t have to think too hard about or keep up with a lot of characters then give this one a go.

4. A Wicked Kind of Husband by Mia Vincy (Longhope Abbey #3)

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“Lucy picked up her skirts and danced down the hall to her own door. “I’m going to run away to Ireland!” she yelled. Cassandra followed after her. “Haven’t the Irish suffered enough?” “Maybe a pirate will kidnap me. If I’m lucky.” “If we’re all lucky.”

Cassandra has seen her husband only once – the day she married him. She’s perfectly fine with this arrangement because she only got married to secure her inheritance anyway. She doesn’t care that he has essentially banned her from going to London because she’s still going to go when he’s guaranteed to be out of town. Until he shows up in London too and gets into an argument with her where they don’t even recognize each other. Cassandra finds herself sharing a house with her husband for the first time while he’s trying everything to get her to go back to the country and leave him alone. Joshua has his life exactly how he likes it and doesn’t want something as inconvenient as a wife ruining all that. But can he resist falling in love with her?

I really enjoyed reading this one. I’ve had pandemic brain this entire year and reading romance and fantasy have been the only thing keeping me afloat. If you enjoy historical romance, this is the book for you. The characters are absolutely delightful and watching them fall in love was really cute. Definitely give this one a shot. I gave this 3 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read any of these books? Am I the only one whose reading patterns have completely changed this year? Let me know how your reading year has been so far!

Leggy

Fantasy, Fiction, literary fiction, race, thriller

Book Review: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

“With heightened awareness of cultural sensitivity comes great responsibility. If we’re not careful, ‘diversity’ might become an item people start checking off a list and nothing more—a shallow, shadowy thing with but one dimension”

Nella is an editorial assistant at a publishing house called Wagner Books. Despite her many efforts in diversity, she is the only black employee and has to deal with the microaggressions and loneliness that comes with it. One day, through the smell of hair grease Nella is ecstatic to find that a new black employee has been hired, Hazel. Nella helps Hazel navigate the company, giving her tips and the two start to form a friendship.

Everything is going well till Nella begins to notice that she is becoming sidelined in favor of Hazel. She is not sure if it’s all in her head until Hazel leaves her hanging in a company meeting and to make things worse, Nella starts receiving threatening notes telling her to leave Wagner. As Nella tries to find out what is going on, we are also given insight into people who worked at Wagner in the past and she finds out that there is more at stake than she realized.

“Even when you just subtly imply that a white person is racist—especially a white man—they think it’s the biggest slap in the face ever. They’d rather be called anything other than a racist. They’re ready to fight you on it, tooth and nail.”

I was quite excited to read this one, even more excited when the wait list at the library was so long because that would mean it’s so good, right? Well no, wrong. This book was not it at all for me. First of all, it was quite slow. It took a while to get to the point and honestly, it still doesn’t get to the point till maybe the last few chapters. It was written from Nella’s point of view and Nella seemed like someone who wasn’t fully comfortable in being black because she grew up privileged and is dating a white guy (which I don’t consider reasons one should be unsure) She sounded timid and like she second guessed herself a lot. There is nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t exactly make for a fun read. I think the title of the book is what made me suspicious from jump when we are introduced to Hazel.

“Jesse Watson’s words about being seen as an equal to white colleagues: “You may think they’re okay with you, and they’ll make you think that they are. But they really aren’t. They never will be. Your presence only makes them fear their own absence.”

The prologue for the book introduces us to Kendra who worked at Wagner in the past and this was so confusing to me. I didn’t think it necessarily added to the story and instead complicated it. It almost seemed disjointed. I have seen many comparisons of this book to the movie “Get Out” and I see why people say it but I don’t get it. Harris decided to add a psychological thriller element to this book that I found unnecessary and drew what the focus of the book was in different directions. What I mean is – is the focus what it is to be a black person in the publishing world where noone looks like you? or is the focus that you have to be a certain kind of “black” to make it in a corporation – the latter which I found insulting.

“With heightened awareness of cultural sensitivity comes great responsibility. If we’re not careful, ‘diversity’ might become an item people start checking off a list and nothing more—a shallow, shadowy thing with but one dimension.”

Overall, I did not like this book for many reasons. It was not engaging, the characters were not compelling. Maybe this was my fault but I was not expecting a book where the black girls were competing against each other and the big twist was weird because it ultimately came down to being compliant to white people makes your life easier? Once again, I did not like this book and I do not recommend it. If you have read it and liked it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments!

Taynement

Book Related Topics, Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: Under the Whispering Door by T. J. Klune

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“Everyone loses their way at some point, and it’s not just because of their mistakes or the decisions they make. It’s because they’re horribly, wonderfully human. And the one thing I’ve learned about being human is that we can’t do this alone. When we’re lost, we need help to try to find our way again.”

Wallace is dead. He knows he’s dead because he is watching his own sparsely attended funeral and a reaper is telling him that he’s dead. Wallace cannot believe it though, he still has so many things to do. The reaper takes Wallace to a small village and to a little tea shop run by a man called Hugo. Hugo is a ferryman, he houses ghosts until they’re ready to make the crossing to the afterlife. He is basically a therapist for ghosts, helping them make peace and accept the fact that they’re dead before leading them to the door that takes them to whatever comes next after death.

With Hugo’s help, Wallace begins to rethink the way he lived his life, trying to make peace with the way he squandered his one chance at life and also starts to fall in love with Hugo. When the Manager, Hugo’s boss, comes and gives Wallace an ultimatum to cross over in 7 days, he tries to rewrite some wrongs and make peace with crossing over to whatever comes next.

“Life is senseless, and on the off chance we find something that does make sense, we hold onto it as tightly as we can.”

Last year, we talked about Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea on our instagram (follow us @nightstands2). I really enjoyed the book so much and recommended it to everyone. It was an absolutely delightful book and if you’re looking for a feel good book, you should definitely check it out. Anyway, I picked up this book just off of how much I enjoyed his previous book. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did his last. Under the Whispering Door never became the book I feel like Klune promised us by having this intriguing premise. It said nothing profound or different about life and death.

I kept waiting for Klune to say something, anything at all of note but he never rose to the occasion. This book brings nothing new to the table and it really disappointed me. The world Klune imagines here isn’t even intriguing enough to bring comfort to its readers. The ghosts are not diverse enough in their experiences with life to give us a full picture of different people’s experiences with death. We only get people who didn’t get to live a full life. So many people die everyday who lived a full, interesting and long life and we couldn’t get one example of a satisfied and happy ghost who didn’t need therapizing?

“It’s never enough, is it? Time. We always think we have so much of it, but when it really counts, we don’t have enough at all.”

This book is 373 pages but honestly, it could have been half that because nothing happens. We don’t see Wallace actually confronting his life and the decisions he made while living it. Wallace’s transformation to suddenly being a good person felt ridiculous because nothing prompted it. A lot of the sentences were repetitive and cliche and Lord, that contrived romance Klune shoved in there was the most eye rolling thing in the whole book. Hugo and Wallace had nothing in common, their love for each other seemed forced and completely out of nowhere. One of the reasons I loved House in the Cerulean Sea so much is because the romance between the two main characters was slowly built up. You could see it coming and you wanted it for both of them.

In this book, the main characters go from not getting along to suddenly being soooo in love without any leadup for us. I think one of the problems with this book is that Klune was committed to telling us instead of showing us a lot of things. If a ghost and a ferryman are going to fall in love when the ferryman has seen lots of ghosts and helped them cross without any entanglement, you better let us see exactly what is so different about this particular ghost.

“He hoped wherever he was going that there’d still be the sun and the moon and the stars. He’d spent a majority of his life with his head turned down. It seemed only fair that eternity would allow him to raise his face toward the sky.”

I don’t want to give the impression that there was nothing good about this book. I just have such high standards for Klune that I was simply more disappointed than I’d be with other authors. Klune’s signature humor is still in this one especially the first 20% of the book while Wallace is still trying to accept the fact that he’s a ghost. I also appreciate how much the author is committed to telling gay stories. His characters are always LGB and he always makes them full and realized human beings where being gay isn’t ever their entire story arc, just one important part of who they are.

Ultimately, this book was too drawn out and never strayed past the shallow. It’s like a book filled with cliche platitudes about how amazing life is and how we should live life to the fullest without actually digging deep and offering anything interesting or different. I gave this one 2 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read any T. J. Klune? Are you going to read this one? I really recommend The House in the Cerulean Sea. It’s fantastic.

Leggy.

Memoirs, Non-Fiction, We Chit Chat

We Chit Chat – You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union

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Leggy: I really enjoyed Gabrielle Union’s first book. I even named it one of my favorite books of the year, the year it came out and I listened to it 5 times! So I was very excited to listen to this one.

Taynement: I honestly am still always shocked when you mention that you listen to books multiple times. Like how?? But yes, I was in the same boat as you. We’re Going to Need More Wine was so good, I immediately got on the waiting list for this one.

Leggy: I was disappointed. I did not think this book was a worthy sequel. I for sure did not need more wine.

Taynement: Ha ha. Or something stronger. They were quite different. Quite frankly, this one was unnecessary.

Leggy: So unnecessary and quite repetitive. Why did she have to revisit Bring it On? She already had an essay about this movie in her first book, which was perfect? Why are we rehashing it all over again? I guess it’s because it’s her only mainstream movie.

Taynement: It’s funny you say that because that was my favorite story. Not sure what that says about the book itself but I didn’t find a lot of the stories compelling. It just didn’t grab me.

Leggy: The only story I found compelling was about her surrogate journey, the rest of the book was just not needed.

Taynement: I enjoyed the surrogate story as well, which is what she started with but it went downhill from there.

Leggy: I’m sure as a celebrity and a black one at that, Gabrielle Union has multiple stories from her life to pull from, so I don’t understand the essays she chose to publish. They didn’t make any sense to me at all. Also this entire book reads very performative. It did not seem genuine. It’s almost like she’s writing for a particular crowd.

Taynement: She unfortunately did the thing where the best part of the book is what she used as promo, so even if you didn’t read the book, you already read the best part. I have always thought Gabrielle Union was performative but she could pull it off in We’re Going to Need More Wine because it was personal stories. In this book, she suffered greatly from a lack of direction. She wasn’t sure if she wanted it to be about race or personal and even with the personal it wasn’t completely her story. I learned more about her stepdaughter in this book than her.

Leggy: Yup. It’s as if she went about collecting all the twitter hot topics and then wrote very impersonal and contrived stories about them. I was so bored. I kept waiting for her to turn the book back towards her and it just never got there. Also, do you believe her when she said the woman she is now would have left Dwyane?

Taynement: It wasn’t more so I didn’t believe her. It was more so it didn’t make sense to me? If in fact that is true, the woman you are now, can still leave? From the book and interviews she has done, I did not get the sense that she is over that whole situation.

Leggy: Exactly. That’s how I felt. So what’s stopping you from leaving now? I think she thinks the audience this book is for, would hate that she stayed. But it’s your decision, it’s your marriage. You have to own the fact that you stayed and recognize that you don’t owe anybody any explanation.

Taynement: Yep. You chose to stay so screw everybody else.

Leggy: She sounded so angry with Dwyane in this book, I was a bit taken aback by it. All while trying to convince us that she’s done the work to make the relationship stronger and better.

Taynement: When she said that people have accused her of not talking about the break baby, I looked around cos I was definitely one of them and then she described it as a trauma. I am ashamed to say I never thought about the angle that he had a baby while they were going through conception struggles. That’s deep.

Leggy: Yeah that’s insane. I can’t imagine how she felt about that.

Taynement: In summary, I don’t think this book was as sincere as the first and the sincerity is what made the first so great.

Leggy: Yes, this book was extremely performative. I wish she hadn’t written it. I did not enjoy it and it sucks because Gabrielle really is a good writer.

Taynement: It definitely was a struggle to read and I have told people I don’t recommend it.

Leggy: I wish she had written something totally different and personal.

Taynement: Last thing, if you do decide to read the book I think we should let people know that it is very heavy on racial topics.

Leggy: Very heavy. Almost all the stories veered into a commentary on race.

Taynement: And I think we need to mention because if you are mood readers like us, sometimes you have to prepare your mind to read certain topics and it’s easy to think this would be a light hearted book because of We’re Going to Need More Wine.

Leggy:If you think this is going to be a fun and compelling book like her first one, just skip it. It’s nothing like it.

Taynement: What she said.

Leggy: Go read her twitter threads instead. It’s just that but in long form.

Taynement & Leggy

Fiction, literary fiction, Mystery

Book Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

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“Every time she fell out of love with him, he saw it happen and waited it out. He never stopped loving her, even those times when he felt deeply hurt and betrayed by her, even in that bad year when they talked about separating, he’d just gone along with it, waiting for her to come back to him, thanking God and his dad up above each time she did.”

The Delaneys are a tennis fixture in their community. They ran a successful tennis academy for years. The parents, Stan and Joy, have such great chemistry and still beat all their friends in tennis even though they’re retired. After selling their academy, they’re bored and miserable. They’re not the type of couple to have fun doing nothing or to have fun traveling so they’re still trying to discover what getting old means for them.

Their adult children – Logan, Amy, Brooke and Troy, are also trying to figure out what life after tennis looks like for them as well, as they never quite made it to being professional. They’re all deeply affected in one way or another by their lives as tennis young stars and are trying to process their feelings towards the sport and having their parents as coaches.

“That was the secret of a happy marriage: step away from the rage.”

One night, a stranger who introduces herself as Savannah, comes knocking on their door completely bruised up and bleeding claiming her boyfriend hit her. Joy and Stan let her in and let her stay with them believing she is escaping a domestic violence situation to the complete dismay of their children.

Later, when Joy disappears out of the blue, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the only other person left in the house – Stan. His kids are divided on if he did it or not. Every single detail in their past is being called into question and reexamined in the light of their mother’s disappearance. Moriarty takes us through the history of this family, alternating between flashbacks and the present as we try to figure out what happened to Joy.

“Once you’ve hit a ball there’s no point watching to see where it’s going. You can’t change its flight path now. You have to think about your next move. Not what you should have done. What you do now.”

My first foray into Moriarty was What Alice Forgot – a book I absolutely loved and adored. Since then though, all her other insanely popular books have missed the mark for me, especially the last two. I wasn’t going to read anymore Moriarty because I was tired of chasing the high I got from What Alice Forgot and never finding it. But, I decided to pick this one up because the person who recommended it said they didn’t like her two previous books either. I think she was right. This book is funny, and even though it’s suspenseful it never feels heavy or overdone. It’s just plain good.

“There was nothing worse than having to feel sorry for people who had wronged you. You don’t want lottery wins for your enemies, but you don’t want tragedies for them either. Then they got the upper hand”

If you’re not a fan of alternating timelines then this book is not for you as Moriarty alternates the chapters between flashbacks and the present. I really enjoy stories about dysfunctional families where there’s no abuse or intent to do actual harm exists. I think sometimes just being a family filled with very different personalities and interpretations of your childhood, leads to dysfunction. It’s a fascinating premise to look back at your life and all the little events that shaped it, with a new eye because now you’re looking for if your father could have murdered your mother. Suddenly every single action or mistake they’ve ever made is suddenly seen in a sinister light.

Moriarty’s straightforward writing style serves this book well. The way she makes these astute observations about the Delaneys while peeling back the layers of their relationships to each other and injecting the right dose of humor is impeccable and sometimes makes you forget that you’re actually reading a murder suspense book.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I don’t know if I rated this highly because I was surprised that I was enjoying a Moriarty book after swearing off reading her, but I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Have you read this one? Let us know in the comments!

Leggy

Book Related Topics, Fiction, literary fiction, short story

Book Review: Evidence Of The Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I have mentioned on more than one occasion how Taylor Jenkins Reid is one of my favorite authors. I am up to date on her new titles but I am slowly making my way through all of her work and this does not exclude short stories which is what this is.

“Alone in love, really. With a man who claims he never loved me”

In 1976, Carrie Allsop writes a letter to a man she does not know, to let him know that their spouses are having an affair with each other. The man in question is David Mayer. She asks him for any information he might discover while not expecting a response from him. But she does. He writes back and so starts correspondence between the two as neither of them leave their respective spouses and go through the experience of being cheated on and wonder how they got here.

“I guess I find it pretty easy to look like nothing is happening when everything has changed.”

I do not like short stories because I feel like they leave me unsatisfied but TJR did it again and was able to feed me a short story that felt like a full blown novel. I should mention that the entire story is in letter format. Meaning, every single chapter is someone writing someone else a letter. Don’t let this deter you because TJR found a way to make you forget that what you are reading are letters. The story moves right along and you are able to get a sense of each character especially as things evolve.

“Lately, it feels like my whole life has a similar feeling to when you check the clock on a Saturday and realize it’s already half past four.”

A tiny thing that I usually enjoy about TJR books is how she drops characters from her other books, usually in passing not as central characters, and this was no different.

If you are wondering where you can find this book, it is an Amazon Original story which is part of the Kindle Unlimited Series and is free to all Amazon Prime members. I have recommended these stories in the past and it usually comes off like an ad (it isn’t, I promise!) but I highly recommend them as they come in audible and kindle versions. They have a wide variety that includes some of your favorite authors. It’s also a good way to jumpstart your reading if you are in a slump.

Back to this book! I highly recommend. It’s only 100 pages and about an hour on audio and it will be worth the read/listen. Let me know if you give it a chance.

Taynement

Fiction, literary fiction, romance

Book Review: Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney

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“And we hate people for making mistakes so much more than we love them for doing good that the easiest way to live is to do nothing, say nothing, and love no one.”

This book revolves around Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon – four people who are trying to make sense of their lives as adults. Alice is an author who meets Felix online and goes on a date with him. Eileen goes through a tough break up and goes back to flirting with her childhood friend, Simon. They’re four individuals trying to make sense of their love lives and their mental health.

While reading this book. I tweeted that Sally Rooney’s style of writing is basically “angst erotica”. I know Rooney has stans who think she can do no wrong but she has basically written the same book three times over, just with different characters. Rooney has a formula that works for her – she brings broken people who have bad mental health together to find love and have really great but slightly disturbing sex. Are these well written books? Yes. Are they the same books? Also yes.

Sometimes I feel like Rooney wants to write a purely romance novel but thinks her writing is too elevated for the genre. She forgoes so many things as she chases down romantic dynamics between characters that are not that interesting. She discards whole character development in pursuit of romantic love. Eileen had a very fraught and complicated relationship with her mother and sister which was never explored. Rooney doesn’t bother giving her characters any backstory to give them depth and make us invested in their story. Everything was barely scratched and kept surface and promptly moved on to the next.

Felix is an awful, self absorbed, emotionally abusive man who is normalized in this book and made to seem as a good match for Alice. He watches porn that shows women being degraded, is cruel to Alice for no reason and he propositions Simon while in a “situationship” with Alice, even though Simon had made it clear that he’s heterosexual.

And oh, 80% of this book is epistolary. Alice and Eileen keep up with each other’s lives via email correspondence. They write each other these ridiculous letters where they muse about everything from 18th century empires to the price of fame. Alice is an author in this book and I get a feeling that a lot of the things Rooney writes via Alice is pretty biographical. Just like Rooney, Alice has written two books with one about to be adapted for TV and she goes on and on about fame and writers wanting to be private. It got so boring reading these long, self indulgence, pseudo-deep musings.

If you’re planning to read this book because of Normal People, you’ll be disappointed because it’s more like her first book Conversation With Friends (the long pretentious conversations) than Normal People but with the angst of Normal People.

There are so many beautiful sentences and quotables that I would have put in this review but decided against it. This book is filled with so many beautiful sentences, Rooney has never been short of that but beautiful sentences does not a good book make. I found this book to be Rooney sounding off about her personal beliefs and thoughts through pretentious, navel gazing white characters that pretend to be deep. There is nothing about this book that is believable – not the characters, not the plot (which btw practically doesn’t exist), not the long email diatribes. How many millenials are emailing each other constantly about literature and philosophy and the fall of empires and the bronze age? Who are these people?!

I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I’m sure I’m going to be in the minority with this review since this book is well over 4 stars on Goodreads and Bookstagram is raving about it. I do not recommend this book. I did not enjoy it. I think it is perfectly okay to write about sex, friendships and relationships but if Rooney is constantly going to write the same book over and over again with practically similar characters with similar backgrounds, then this is where I step back from her. And of course, this book has no quotation marks.

Leggy

african author, Nigerian Author, Non-Fiction, Self Help

We Chit Chat – Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me into the Life of My Dreams by Yvonne Orji

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Leggy: How did we end up with this title?

Taynement: I recommended it.

Leggy: Oh right. You did. We both did it on audio too. What were your preconceived notions of the book and was it what you thought it would be?

Taynement: As usual, I had no knowledge of what the book was about. I just assumed it was a memoir. I remember wondering why anyone would care about an Yvonne Orji memoir.

Leggy: Lmaoooo. Taynement! I didn’t know what it would be about either. I wondered why someone so young in the industry was writing memoir.

Taynement: I’m not a fan of hers per se, so I honestly can’t tell you what compelled me to read this. My FOMO spirit is strong.

Leggy: I only read it because you told me too. Would never have. Also, it’s literally called “Bamboozled by Jesus” and I was still shocked when it turned out to be a religious book.

Taynement: I will say that this was a pleasant surprise for me.

Leggy: Oh really? You liked it? I’m shocked!

Taynement: Haha! I’m shocked myself.

Leggy: At first I was going to DNF it. I remember complaining that I would have never finished it if we weren’t doing a chit chat on it but then I just kinda got into it.

Taynement: Here’s the thing, I think the premise was a good one. It was a self help book wrapped in religion that was not preachy with sprinkles of hip hop culture. It worked for me.

Leggy: I didn’t love it but I certainly enjoyed following her journey. It’s quite interesting how dogged she is because there were a lot of times I feel like I would have given up. Also, she’s quite trusting in God, a lot of the things she believed in would have never worked for me. Like giving up her rent because God said so.

Taynement: So, in the beginning when she is laying the premise of the book, she said something like even if you don’t believe in the Word don’t think this book isn’t for you and I think she was wrong about that. It worked for me because I like to consider myself a person of faith, albeit a weak one, but she’s on a level of faith I aspire to be on. If you aren’t religious at all, this book will make you break out in hives because you will be ready to prove why it was something else and not God.

Leggy: Definitely. You should not read this one if you’re not religious. I believe in God but even I was turned off by the many Bible passages so I can’t imagine how this book could possibly work for someone who doesn’t believe.

Taynement: I wasn’t. I actually complained to my husband that I need to do better in reading my Bible. I really liked how she wove Bible passages into every day scenarios.

Leggy: This is how you know you’re a better Christian than me

Taynement: I should also add that sometimes a book works for you depending on your headspace and I read this book at a time where I need crazy faith like hers and it encouraged me.

Leggy: Also, I thought she must be very familiar with the Bible to be able to tell these stories in this way. It was very well done if you know the Bible and that’s why I fully consider this book a religious book. I also liked the Insecure parts of the book which is what I was actually looking forward to. I wanted to hear how she booked the role.

Taynement: I would kill to know who the actress was that peaked at audition 1. Now, my gripe with the Insecure parts – which is where she addresses what I have always wondered with her, which is her choice as a person of faith with highly sexualized scenes. Her explanation didn’t answer my questions, AT ALL. I still can’t reconcile that she had a conversation with God and He told her she’s being used to send a message? I think that’s when she used the analogy that Denzel wasn’t a murderer but played one.

Leggy: Did you read where she said she started looking forward to the sex scenes? and enjoying them? I was like what?! And God had to be like this isn’t a loophole.

Taynement: I appreciated her honesty. Ha ha. Body no be firewood.

Leggy: I really hope her faith in regards to finding a life partner comes through because I felt quite weird reading all of that. I’m hoping it all works out for her but what if God doesn’t want her to have romantic love in her life? Would it affect her faith?

Taynement: I hope her faith will carry her through if that’s not the case for her. There’s something I wondered – Based on her comedy special, I could have sworn I saw her mum and dad but in the book there was barely a mention of her dad.

Leggy: I have a feeling she didn’t want to discuss her family directly. It was obvious they just came around when she became successful. Her mum and dad are still together though.

Taynement: I just thought it was odd that she didn’t mention her dad except jointly as parents but she definitely had a lot of mom stories.

Leggy: Oh, I didn’t notice at all. Just noticed that she limited giving concrete details of her family and their reactions to her decision and just generally mentioned that they wanted her to go get a Masters and a regular job. I got the feeling she was trying to spare them the embarrassment but I can only imagine – they are Nigerian parents after all.

Taynement: I think that makes sense given it wasn’t necessarily a memoir – more like a collection of essays. She gave just enough regarding upbringing and how it contributed to her career path. Did you have a favorite story of hers?

Leggy: I really enjoyed her Insecure journey since that was what I really wanted to read about. Second best was when she was raising money to make a pilot for the first gen show she had been shopping around.

Taynement: My favorite story was the one about finding her dream house. It truly resonated with me because it was a metaphor. Overall, I’d describe this book as the book I didn’t think I needed but I did. Trust me, I’m still surprised myself. I gave it 4 stars.

Leggy: Wow. It really resonated with you. I didn’t feel that strongly about it. I gave it 2 stars.

Let us know if you have read this one or you’re planning to!

Taynement & Leggy

Book Related Topics, Uncategorized

These Are A Few Of My DNF Titles…

I recently shared on our Instagram how I was struggling with two titles that I was looking forward to. Animal by Lisa Taddeo and One Two Three by Laurie Frankel. They recently joined my DNF list. Leggy helped me in stopping hate-read habit. I recognize that sometimes your response to a book is dependent on your headspace at the time but honestly sometimes despite all the hype by everyone, some books just don’t work for you…and that’s okay.

We are closer to the end of the year and I am still not sure how I would define my 2021 reading year. I have read 0-1 great books, a lot good books, a few meh books and books that I did not bother finishing. Those are the books that I will be sharing with you today. I think a part of why I am sharing is that I am curious to see what other people think of the books – if they liked it and why they liked it.

As Leggy always says, art is subjective so please remember that by no means am I saying that these books are terrible books, they are just books that I wasn’t into when I read them and I may or may not go back to. You can also find Leggy’s DNF titles here.

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories - Kindle  edition by Evans, Danielle. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
  1. The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans: I know I don’t like short stories but every now and then I am surprised. I started this on audio and by the third or fourth story, I realized nothing was connecting with me. My friend tried to get me to keep reading but I tapped out.

2. The Best of Me by David Sedaris: Yes I know it’s another short story collection and you are probably wondering why I bother at all. Well David Sedaris is different. He has written a couple of memoirs in this format and I have enjoyed them in the past. They have been funny. I don’t know what it was but I couldn’t get into it and I didn’t chuckle two chapters in, so I let it go 😦

3. Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev: This is a popular one and I have seen nothing but good things about it. There have been many Pride and Prejudice retellings and this caught my eye because it had a gender swap and an Indian infusion and I was curious to see how it would be. I’ll admit that I didn’t give this enough time to marinate. I have an idea of what the story will be but as soon as I started getting to the will they/won’t they parts my interest waned and I did not proceed with it. I will say that this is a book that I think I plan to revisit some day.

The Dragonfly Sea

4. The Dragonfly Sea by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I had confused it with another premise but I hadn’t. I dropped the book because it was so tedious. I like to get lost in a book and enjoy it but I felt like I was having to concentrate really hard and do homework and I didn’t want that reading experience.

What do you think? Are there any of these books (including Animal and One Two Three) that you liked and think I should give another chance? Let me know in the comments.

Taynement