Mini Reviews: Adulthood Is a Myth and Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 109

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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Are you a special snowflake? Do you enjoy networking to advance your career? Is adulthood an exciting new challenge for which you feel fully prepared? Ugh. Please go away.

This book is for the rest of us. These comics document the wasting of entire beautiful weekends on the internet, the unbearable agony of holding hands on the street with a gorgeous guy, dreaming all day of getting home and back into pajamas, and wondering when, exactly, this adulthood thing begins. In other words, the horrors and awkwardnesses of young modern life.


Okay, I admit I don’t read many comic books or strips. But I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s work for years, well before she published her first book. Thankfully my friend bought both her books, and within an hour I blew through them.

Even though the strips are simplistic, I love how Sarah captures what people think, how they feel, and how they are all the same, regardless of what they believe. She takes you on an unbelievably hilarious adventure of a girl’s journey through life.

I can’t count how times I giggled while reading this book. And I haven’t devoured a comic book so quickly in a long while. Sarah takes these complicated adult problems all readers face daily or fear, and she turns them into some sort of therapeutic release for her followers. I relate to her characters, feelings, fears, and thoughts on every day things. From sniffing books to commandeering men’s hoodies, she makes her readers relate to each other so that they can realize we aren’t so different.

I will always look for more of Sarah’s work. She speaks to my inner introvert and bookworm (dragon tyvm). I think my only negative of the book is that it’s too short. Besides that issue, I love her strips. And I’ll eagerly await more of her illustrations.

 


Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen

Published by: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Genre: Comic Strip, Adult, Humour

Page Count: 128

Rating: 4/5

Source: Friend’s stash of books

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Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals.

In addition to the most recent Sarah’s Scribbles fan favorites and dozens of all-new comics, this volume contains illustrated personal essays on Sarah’s real-life experiences with anxiety, career, relationships and other adulthood challenges that will remind readers of Allie Brosh’s Hyperbole and a Half and Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. The same uniquely frank, real, yet humorous and uplifting tone that makes Sarah’s Scribbles so relatable blooms beautifully in this new longer form.


Sarah is my spirit animal or my queen; I’m not sure which one, though. The anti-social, hate-filled woman in me squeals when I find “my people,” as in my fellow introverts. Sarah touches on bullying, self image, relationships, female problems, procrastination, and social awkwardness. While I like the first comic strip book, I feel that Sarah connects this sequel in a better cohesive way.

What I would give to sit down and talk with her about life. You get a better understanding of who she is and what issues make her uncomfortable. She addresses many social problems she battles with. And all I see is a reenactment of my life. How can I identify with a woman I haven’t met sometimes astounds me. But somehow I do, and while looking through Goodreads, I’ve realized many other readers feel the same.

 

She’s not afraid to discuss social anxiety. She combines her humour with her anxiety and turns the latter into a platform for her to talk with other people who suffer from it. So I respect her for pulling off that accomplishment. Big Mushy Happy Lump is a light and airy read that hooks you from the first strip. I can’t wait to see what Sarah has to offer next.

Mini Review: Cruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

25944381.jpgCruel Crown by Victoria Aveyard

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: January 5, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Dystopian

Extent: 208 pages

Rating: Queen Song: 3.75/5

Steel Scars: 3.5/5

Source: Purchase


Two women on either side of the Silver and Red divide tell the stories no one else knows.

Queen Song

Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.


Steel Scars

Diana Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.


Queen Song

This book is certainly a quick read. I wasn’t expecting huge revelations, but I needed more history than what was in Red Queen.

“There is nothing so terrible as a story untold.”

IMG_0245 copyKing Tiberius Calore VI, Cal and Maven’s father, refuses to follow the path of other kings when he looks for his queen. So when he chooses Coriane Jacos, a singer from a poor family, he angers many families and powerful daughters who are aiming for that gleaming crown. Victoria transports you back through Coriane and Tiberius’ love story. Their marriage isn’t shiny by any means, but you see how they loved each other. And I truly enjoy the lack of blood lust in this marriage, like the others from the Queenstrial, where teenage girls from the High Houses compete against each other and display their abilities in front of the royal family. I also love how Coriane, while she isn’t there in person in the Red Queen, influences Cal on a much deeper level than I previously thought. Like her, Cal loves to build, a trait he inherits from his mother. Unfortunately, the King and Queen’s marriage does not survive after the birth of their son, Cal, when unforeseen forces tear down the protective walls in Coriane.

Yes, yes, yes. I get more Coriane! Her life has always intrigued me. And while I knew who killed her, I never understood how Elara breaks a singer. Tiberius and Coriane’s story is what I was looking for in this dreary universe. Something I see as real and beautiful. Victoria really sparked my interest in this piece of history. How her prose changes in this story brings out Coriane’s POV. You get a lot of spunk and sarcasm when Mare takes the stage, but with Coriane, you hear her quiet but determined (albeit sad) voice.

Steel Scars

Victoria shows Farley’s roots in Steel Scars. So finally you watch how Farley, the Scarlet Guard captain from Red Queen, transforms into who she is now. She has a deeper backstory and a stronger rage than any of her scars. Farley’s story lays out the leg work for the eventual exposure of the Scarlet Guard and the attack on the Silvers in Red Queen.While this story doesn’t instantly capture my interest as Queen Song does, I love how Victoria wraps up some burning questions I’ve had since I first read Red Queen. And finally I understand Farley’s conviction behind her decisions to do what she must. Victoria incorporates top-secret correspondences among the ranks. And she also shows you how the the Scarlet Guard works, something I’ve been trying to figure out for quite awhile. And I get more Shade Barrow! What more can a woman ask for?

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Mini Review: The Masked Truth and The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

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24733600The Unquiet Past by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Orca Book Publishers

Publication Date: October 13, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Contemporary, Thriller

Extent: 352 pages

Rating: 3/5


Riley Vasquez is haunted by the brutal murder of the couple she was babysitting for. Max Cross is suffering under the shadow of a life-altering diagnosis he doesn’t dare reveal. The last thing either of them wants is to spend a weekend away at a therapy camp alongside five other teens with “issues.” But that’s exactly where they are when three masked men burst in to take the group hostage. The building has no windows. The exits are sealed shut. Their phones are gone. And their captors are on a killing spree. Riley and Max know that if they can’t get out, they’ll be next—but they’re about to discover that even escape doesn’t equal freedom.


Therapy camp, murder, and teen mental illness? Sign me up! Surprisingly, I enjoyed reading this novel. I had no high expectations, but I savoured the easy read and fast-paced action in The Masked Truth. It does take a foreign path I’m not accustomed to with Kelley, so I wasn’t expecting to be hooked so quickly.

With The Masked Truth, you get to see Kelley’s other side. She studied for a degree in psychology before she became an author, and her experience shows through in her writing. How Kelley addresses mental illness––especially schizophrenia and PTSD––in youth is what sparked my interest.

This book reminds me of Kelley’s Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising series, but without the fantasy. Riley is a relatable teen who witnesses a brutal crime that causes her to attend this deadly therapy retreat, and Max is a teenage boy who simply cannot accept his diagnosis (I know I couldn’t, especially with my family connection to his illness). Both work great as a team, and I enjoyed both POVs.

Two negatives are Max’s obsession to continuously make out and his tendency to wander. I get why he’s intrigued by Riley, but I believe your life has a higher priority than kissing her, even if she is cute. And now I sound old. Great. Anyways, Kelley took a chance with this standalone book, and while there were some rough edges, The Masked Truth is a fun read.

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003188_1163d3ae7b517100f7d7003e0c15cb18The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong

Published by: Doubleday Canada

Publication Date: September 29, 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Supernatural, Mystery

Extent: 264 pages

Rating: 3/5


Tess has always been tormented by waking visions that make her question her sanity. When the orphanage she lives in burns down, she decides to face her fears and find out once and for all what is wrong with her. She believes the truth must lie with her parents, and so, armed with only an address and phone number, Tess travels to a crumbling mansion in rural Quebec, where she discovers evidence of mistreatment of mental patients. She also makes an unlikely ally and gradually unearths her family’s sad history—and finally accepts the truth about her paranormal powers.


When Kelley brings Canadiana to her work, especially setting her book in Canada, I am eager to get my hands on it. I don’t always see Canadian settings. Don’t get me wrong; I love other countries, but when I know which city or town authors write about, I’m thrilled to immerse myself in their work.

This book is a part of the Secrets series from Orca Book Publishers. I’m not intrigued by all the books in Secrets, but I’m interested in a few: Stones on a Grave by Kathy Kacer, My Life before Me by Norah McClintock, and Innocent by Eric Walters.

This book also deals with mental illness but is sprinkled with some suspense and supernatural undertones. At first, Tess annoyed me a little, especially when she doesn’t listen to her instincts. But I grew to like her, though. I enjoyed her character’s growth and the banter she has with Jackson. Both have an interesting bond. But I felt that the ending was rushed. The Unquiet Past is a quick and compelling read. I wish Kelley fleshed out the ending, though. The rating would be different. Overall, it was a nice read.

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