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Book Review: I Don’t Belong To You

I don’t think I have ever felt more OLD reading a book.  Keke Palmer’s “I Don’t Belong To You” is an autobiography and also an inspirational and potentially “self help” book.  However, I couldn’t get past all the use of “lol” and hashtags throughout the text.  Maybe if I was about 10 years younger I would find it appropriate – but it was written more like she was writing you an email than an actual book – which maybe was the point, but again, I’m just realizing that at 32 I am old. Watch out, or  I may bust out a “kids these days”.

LOLs, emojis and hashtags aside, the book did have a lot of lessons that Keke learned throughout her career and learning to love herself and the secrets and struggles that she went through and would be perfect for a teen or twenty something to read as I think that a lot of kids, especially girls, go through some of these same things.  Of course, I grew up before social media was a “thing”, so I don’t relate to all of the struggles that Keke mentions, but anyone her age would totally get where she is coming from.

I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A sometimes serious, often hilarious, and always inspiring guide that encourages young women to live a life full of ownership, confidence, and freedom from singer and popular Scream Queens and Grease Live! actress Keke Palmer, delightfully illustrated in four color with Keke’s favorite inspirational quotes, journal entries, and memes.

As a successful singer, actress, and talk show host, Keke has always used her huge social media following as a platform for real talk about the issues that matter to her generation, but now she is speaking out candidly and for the first time about the secrets, struggles, and practices that have guided her to succeed. On the surface, it may appear that Keke has it made, but under the success, she has grappled with the same issues all young women wrestle with—identity, pressure, self-worth, love, sexuality, heartbreak, and family.

With this in mind, she created I Don’t Belong To You—an inspirational guide that encourages young women to change their mindset and live with more freedom, confidence, and love as they navigate the rough terrain of the twenty-first century. Full of revealing stories from Keke’s personal and professional life, this book tackles twelve topics—sexuality, race, anxiety, success, bullying, and body image to name a few—with refreshing honesty.

Within each chapter is a personal interview with one of the many people that have inspired and motivated her, including Serena Williams, Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Lee Daniels; quotes, texts, song lyrics, and funny memes that have inspired her; and practices that can help you stay on a path of always growing, never grown. With a voice of empathy, tough love, and determination, Keke speaks about the challenges and triumphs she has experienced on her journey to finding her own voice and creating a beautiful life. I Don’t Belong To You is the motivation you need to move past pain and fear to lead a life full of creativity, spirituality, passion, and unlimited success.

Book Review: Everybody Curses, I Swear!

Everybody Curses, I Swear is by Carrie Keagan.  I recognize her from VH1 Morning Buzz Live but you may recognize her from her YouTube videos.  The beginning of this book warns that if you offended by curse words (and at about 2 paragraphs in, she has already used a LOT) then you should pick out a different book to read.  A couple of paragraphs below that she lists 80 curse words – since the average person swears 80 times a day! The list is in alphabetical order and some of these I don’t even consider to be swears so I would venture to guess I’m well above average in the “Daily Cursing” department!

The book is part autobiography and a bit more “crude” than most, but that is what made me love it.  It’s not written all prim and proper, it’s written as if you’re sitting around and having a real conversation with Carrie – average of 80 swear words per day and all.  (Although I think her average is a bit more than 80 too…)  Throughout there are also conversations she’s had with celebrities that were full of swears and double entendres. (Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck to name a couple)

There is even a word search puzzle – full of curse words! And a crossword puzzle!  And no book about curse words is complete without a Profanity Index at the end of the book.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

She’s been called vulgar, crass, sophomoric, offensive and dirty…and that was just in one article. But there’s so much more to talk show host, internet entrepreneur, and original YouTube sensation, Carrie Keagan. You may know her as host, writer, and producer of VH1’s hit morning show Big Morning Buzz Live with Carrie Keagan, but before Judd Apatow made being dirty mainstream, she was pioneering the R-rated, A-List celebrity digital video to an audience of tens of millions on one of the first and most successful YouTube networks ever, No Good TV. She’s turned swearing into an art-form and invited all of Hollywood to join in.

Some women f*ck their way to the top but she “f*cked” her way to the top. Her naughty interviews with Hollywood’s elite are the stuff of legend, earning her the nickname “Barbara Walters on Acid.” She’s gone toe-to-toe with virtually every celebrity in the world, and she’s been taking notes. Get ready for all the juicy, behind-the-scenes stories from the biggest stars as she shares her journey from being a bullied kid from Buffalo to Hollywood’s most fearless host. After 8,000 interviews, 2 billion views online, her own TV show, and countless appearances including her upcoming season on Celebrity Apprentice, she’s got crazy stories to tell.

Everybody Curses, I Swear! is the quintessential book on the wonderful world of potty-mouthed depravity inside Hollywood!

Book Review: Bless This Mother-effing Home

Bless This Mother-effing Home is a book of sweet stitches for snarky bitches.  I have seen some similar crafts online and always get a good laugh out of them so when I saw there was a whole book of them, created by someone else named Katie, I had to check it out.  Cross-stitch is a craft I have done before with some success, provided that it is printed and not counted.  Katie has been selling her crafts on her etsy page but after getting some publicity on the show GIRLS things have taken off for her.  The cross stitches in the book are all cutesy and adorable, as one would expect, but the text on them are a bit unexpected and anyone with a sense of humor would surely find one or five that they feel the need to have in their home. My favorites are probably the ones based on rap lyrics like “mo money mo problems” and “y’all gonna make me lose my mind up in here, up in here”.  If you don’t crack a smile at least once when reading through this book you may need to consult a doctor.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The combination of sugar and spice is irresistible in this adorable and appalling collection of cross stitch. Laugh-out-loud fun through crafting is found in these biting yet precious patterns.
Katie Kutthroat’s warped and witty cross stitch has taken the internet by storm and has been featured on TV shows like HBO’s Girls and The League. Cute but snarky, each cross stitch pattern featured in Bless This Mother-effing Home evokes laughter and irony. Perforated pages allow for readers to hang up or share favorite entries, spreading the cross stitched love.

Book Review: Goodnight, Batcave

If you’re like me, you may have grown up reading “Goodnight, Moon”.  This book is an unauthorized parody from MAD Magazine and instead of saying goodnight to the moon and everything in the room, Batman says goodnight to his Batcave and everything and every one around.  The illustrations are really nice and the book is cute for the young Batman fan who just needs one more book read to him/her before bed!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

A 100% UNauthorized GOODNIGHT, MOON parody — as only the world-(in)famous MAD Magazine can do it!

Batman may be ready for bed — but crime never sleeps!And before the Caped Crusader can turn in for the night, he’ll have to deal with villains like the Joker, Bane, Mr. Freeze, Catwoman and the Penguin!If the Dark Knight hopes to ever catch some Z’s, he’ll have to catch Gotham’s most dangerous criminals first!

In this all-new story from The Usual Gang of Idiots at MAD Magazine, the bestselling children’s book GOODNIGHT MOON is parodied with the heroes and villains from the world of DC Comics’ BATMAN!

Book Review: Yarn Whirled

Yarn Whirled: Fairy Tales, Fables and Folklore is another crafty book that I was looking forward to reading.  Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get the formatting for it 100% correct to be able to read everything, but it seems like these characters may be a better start for me before diving into learning something like crochet.  These are more made of folded yarn. I loved seeing all the fairies and the other folklore characters that were created.  With my limited hand-eye coordination I think that these types of creations are more my style. The outcome is really adorable too.  There are humans as well as other characters shown in the book, like adorable little brown bears and characters from the nutcracker too.  The details on the tutus of the ballerinas and the wings of the fairies are absolutely amazing.  If you’re looking to make some characters in a way that might be a little bit easier than with crocheting, this is the book for you.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Want to create adorable yarn dolls? Give it a whirl! Create a lovable character from the classic stories of Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm with this brand new craft. This unique way of wrapping yarn requires no previous experience or special tools, and uses yarn that can be found at your local craft store. Fun, step-by-step instructions and full-color photographs show all you need to know to create Cinderella and Prince Charming, Hansel and Gretel, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and many other beloved favorites.

Book Review: Trolls Graphic Novels #1: Hugs & Friends

The Trolls Graphic Novels #1 contains 15 different stories that are about 5 pages each.   There are different characters featured in every story and they are illustrated, not computer generated like the movie, so they look a little bit different than what you might be used to for the movie.  This is the first book and I am looking forward to more to come to see what other kind of trouble these Trolls can get into!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

It’s the Trolls first graphic novel! Who are the Trolls? Who are the Bergens? Why is there one Troll who isn’t happy like all the other Trolls? And why does this Troll know more about the Bergens than any other Troll? Find out more about Poppy and Branch in this all-new collection of comics that take place before the Trolls motion picture. Warning: You may never look at a cupcake the same way after you see this graphic novel.

Book Review: Crochet Stories: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

I know every time I read one of these crochet books I say that I am going to learn to crochet, but I truly thing this year is going to be my year.  The latest book I read was all about the characters from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.  In addition to the instructions on how to make the characters (which are ranked with skill levels like easy or intermediate so you know where to begin based on your skill level) there is also some excerpts of the book included as well.  There are some really cute characters like the door mouse and the hedgehogs as well as your favorites like Alice, Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter.  You can also make accessories for your tea party as well!  All characters come with crochet instructions and how many to make as well as photos of the finished products.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

Everyone should visit Wonderland, and these charming crocheted characters bring Lewis Carroll’s enchanted kingdom to magical life. Appropriate for intermediate to advanced crocheters, this collection of eighteen patterns presents clear, well-illustrated instructions for creating imaginative renditions of personalities and props from the classic tale.
First and foremost is golden-haired Alice herself, both in her normal, child-sized form and also in a miniature version. Other characters include the White Rabbit, the King and Queen of Hearts, the Caterpillar and his mushroom perch, the Dodo, the Mad Hatter and Dormouse, and the grinning Cheshire Cat. A variety of accessories consist of a tea pot and cups for the mad tea party; a flamingo mallet, hedgehog ball, and playing-card arch for a game of croquet; a rose bush with red and white blossoms; and a cake and bottle to provide Alice’s transformations in size. Crocheters will delight in each of these whimsical patterns, and their handiwork will result in keepsake treasures.

Book Review: Creepy Crawly Crochet

Once again, I check out a really cool book about crochet with having no knowledge of how to make any of the cool things in the book! But this year I think I am going to try to teach myself because there are so many cool things that I want to try and make out there!

There are 17 creepy, crawly creatures in this book – things that go bump in the night! The book shows you all the stitches and techniques for all of the creatures. My favorites were the mummy, swamp thing and booboo voodoo!  There is even an itsy bitsy spider included, but I think I’ll pass on trying to make him!  This book has a lot of items that would be great for Halloween!

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

They’re creepy but they’re cute and cuddly, too! Inspired by classic literature, film, and folklore, these 17 crochet monsters will delight everyone with a taste for old-fashioned thrillers and modern tales of horror. Detailed instructions include assembly diagrams for ease of construction along with full-color photos. The patterns are suitable for beginners, but advanced crocheters will find them irresistible as well.
These fetching fiends include Boo Boo the Voodoo Doll; Jack, the Headless Horseman, and his horse, Nightmare; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Carl of the Dead and Daisy, his Zombie Dog; and other sinister characters. In addition to their value as handmade keepsake treasures, these characters also make great gifts for fans of horror and science fiction.

Book Review: You Will Know Me

Megan Abbott was recommended to me as an author by a friend. I saw that You Will Know Me was available for review on NetGalley so I figured I would check it out.  I really liked Megan’s writing style although some of the ‘twists’ in the book I found to be quite predictable. I also thought it was a bit weird about how she told us the major event that was  going to happen very early on and then at times seemed to work backwards from it.

I’ve seen a lot of questions asking if this book is a Young Adult book. While the main character is a teen named Devon, I think this is more of an adult book. I want to say more about this book but I also don’t want to give too much away so I am struggling. But I will say the book revolves around Devon who is a gymnast and her family which have given up everything to support her in her hopes of going to the Olympics.  Through the gym they meet a guy and it is his death that ends up being the main piece of the rest of the book where you see how everyone in the community deals with the news and the investigation.

I didn’t feel like the book had a really good ending either. It just kind of ended without a lot of closure. But it didn’t put me off enough to not consider reading other Abbott books that may end up available.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

The audacious new novel from bestselling author Megan Abbott, “one of the best living mystery writers” (Grantland).
Katie and Eric Knox have dedicated their lives to their fifteen-year-old daughter Devon, a gymnastics prodigy and Olympic hopeful. But when a violent death rocks their close-knit gymnastics community just weeks before an all-important competition, everything the Knoxes have worked so hard for feels suddenly at risk. As rumors swirl among the other parents, revealing hidden plots and allegiances, Katie tries frantically to hold her family together while also finding herself drawn, irresistibly, to the crime itself, and the dark corners it threatens to illuminate. From a writer with “exceptional gifts for making nerves jangle and skin crawl,” (Janet Maslin) YOU WILL KNOW ME is a breathless rollercoaster of a novel about the desperate limits of desire, jealousy, and ambition.

Book Review: Almost Perfect

Almost perfect is about the sacrifice that baseball pitchers and teams make for the perfect game.  Very, very few have ever done it.  Some perfect games turned into no hitters but didn’t end up perfect.  There are write ups on some close calls with the box score and why they didn’t end up perfect.  Unfortunately my Mets have never had a perfect game and have only ever had 1 no hitter!

For those of you are not baseball fans – a “perfect game” is when you have no hits or walks, hit by pitch, etc. as a pitcher.  A no hitter is just that – no hits.  But you could have walked a player or hit him with a pitch.  This book shows some of these no hitters and other “almosts”.

I received a free e-copy of this book in order to write this review, I was not otherwise compensated.

About the book

The rich, poignant tales of major league baseball’s most hard-luck fraternity—the pitchers of its Almost-Perfect Games

From 1908 to 2015, there have been thirteen pitchers who have begun Major League Baseball games by retiring the first twenty-six opposing batters, but then, one out from completing a perfect game, somehow faltering (or having perfection stolen from them). Three other pitchers did successfully retire twenty-seven batters in a row, but are still not credited with perfect games. While stories of pitching the perfect game have been told and retold, Almost Perfect looks at how baseball, at its core, is about heartbreak, and these sixteen men are closer to what baseball really is, and why we remain invested in the sport. Author Joe Cox visits this notion through a century of baseball and through these sixteen pitchers—recounting their games in thrilling fashion, telling the personal stories of the fascinating (and very human) baseball figures involved, and exploring the historical American and baseball backdrops of each flawed gem.

From George “Hooks” Wiltse’s nearly perfect game in 1908 to “Hard Luck” Harvey Haddix’s 12-inning, 36-consecutive-outs performance on May 26, 1959 (the most astounding single-game pitching performance in baseball history) to Max Scherzer’s near miss in 2015, Joe Cox’s book captures the action, the humanity, and the history of the national pastime’s greatest “almosts.”
Joe Cox is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and is the co-author of multiple sports books, including Fightin’ Words: Kentucky vs. Louisville and Voice of the Wildcats: Claude Sullivan and the Rise of Modern Sportscasting. He lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky.