Book Review- Romeo and/or Juliet

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Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North
Published by Riverhead Books on June 7th, 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Choose your own adventure, Humor, Fiction, Graphic Novels
Pages: 400
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Amazon

Shakespeare’s plays weren’t meant to be read. They were meant…to be played.

What if Romeo never met Juliet? What if Juliet got really buff instead of moping around all day? What if they teamed up to take over Verona with robot suits? This choose-your-own-path version of Romeo and Juliet—packed with fun puzzles, secrets, and quadrillions of possible storylines—lets you decide where the plot goes every time you read. You might play as Romeo, or as Juliet, or as both of them at the same time. You might even unlock additional playable characters!

That’s right. We figured out how to have unlockable characters in books.

Choose your own adventure books are great. You have a book, and you get to choose (sort of) what happens! What more could you want?

Well, apparently not ALL choose your own adventure books live up to the hype. Who could’ve guessed?

I was pretty let down by this book. At first it seemed funny and charming, but that soon got old… and tbh, kind of annoying.

It felt like this whole book was meant for 5th graders, only it talked a lot about sex (or at least the paths I were led down talked about that?). The “humor” wasn’t really funny to me. It felt like it was trying to hard. It kind of reminded me of a situation where a teen’s parents is trying to be “hip” with/around them. It’s kind of painful. Please stop.

While “reading” this book (or whatever you call it), I played as both Romeo and Juliet. I went through it quite a few times. I died happily and painfully and sadly. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get past the first 100 pages. LIKE WHAT ARE ALL THOSE OTHER PAGES FOR? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG???? I seriously don’t get it. And after an hour, I got seriously tired of trying.

Honestly, this book really didn’t do much for me. It was super entertaining for the first half hour, and then I could barely stand it anymore. After playing through four or five times, I decided enough was enough.

Also, can we talk about Romeo and Juliet for a second? I get that Ryan North is trying to make this funny and entertaining, but the characters are kind of going a bit overboard. They both feel like a clashing of clichés that JUST DON’T WORK. I don’t get who thought that was a good idea. I mean… I guess it makes them original? Maybe it helps explain some of the paths you can choose? I don’t know guys…. just felt weird to me.

I do have to say, though, that the art in this book was amazing. I flipped through the book and was amazed at the variety of styles and beauty of all the pieces. Just feel like I have to put that out there.

Now for the real question: Does that count as a DNF?

I say no, because even though I was stuck in the first 100 pages, I did get 4 or 5 full stories, beginning to end. So I’m counting that as a read. Just not a very good one….
I would recommend this book to younger teens who don’t really like sitting through a whole book. This is quick, fun (for short periods of time), and entertaining. It’s also full of that going-though-puberty-everything-sexual-is-a-hoot humor.

I am going to give Romeo and/or Juliet two out of five hearts.

♥ ♥

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Book Review- Kanye West Owes Me $300

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Kanye West Owes me $300 & Other True Stories from a White Rapper who Almost Make it Big by Jensen Karp
Published by Crown Archetype on June 7 2016
Genres: Memoir, Rap, Humor
Pages: 300
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Amazon

After Vanilla Ice, but before Eminem, there was “Hot Karl,” the Jewish kid from the L.A. suburbs who became a rap battling legend—and then almost became a star.

When 12-year old Jensen Karp got his first taste of rapping for crowds at his friend’s bar mitzvah in 1991, little did he know that he was taking his first step on a crazy journey—one that would end with a failed million-dollar recording and publishing deal with Interscope Records when he was only 19. Now, in Kanye West Owes Me $300, Karp finally tells the true story of his wild ride as “Hot Karl,” the most famous white rapper you’ve never heard of.

On his way to (almost) celebrity, Jensen shares his childhood run-ins with rock-listening, southern California classmates, who tell him that “rap is for black people,” and then recounts his record-breaking rap battling streak on popular radio contest “The Roll Call”—a run that caught the eye of a music industry hungry for new rap voices in the early ‘00s. He also introduces his rap partner, Rickye, who constitutes the second half of their group XTra Large; his supportive mom, who performs with him onstage; and the soon-to-be-household-name artists he records with, including Kanye West, Redman, Fabolous, Mya, and will.i.am. Finally, he reveals why his album never saw the light of day (two words: Slim Shady), the downward spiral he suffered after, and what he found instead of rap glory.

Full of rollicking stories from his close brush with fame, Karp’s hilarious memoir is the ultimate fish-out-of-water story about a guy who follows an unlikely passion—trying to crack the rap game—despite what everyone else says. It’s 30 Rock for the rap set; 8 Mile for the suburbs; and quite the journey for a white kid from the valley.

I don’t read a lot of memoirs, but when I do, I like them to be just like this. This book was the perfect mix of humor, incredibly entertaining and almost-too-good-to-be-true stories, struggle, and sadness.

Jensen Karp’s journey as “Hot Karl” (don’t look that up on Urban Dictionary) was amazing. It was a wild ride from beginning to end, and the experiences he had during his brief time as a rapper were just out of this world.

I enjoyed the honesty in this book. It felt like Jensen was sitting down with me and telling the story to me, complete with pictures and rap lyrics. It was so cool how even though his rap career was that long, he still worked with a lot of people who are still big today (read: Kanye West, Will.i.am, etc.). By the end of reading this, I was actually really sad that he didn’t blow up like he could have. I wonder if people would go through a “Hot Karl” phase the same way they go through an Eminem phase (which I definitely did).

I ended up listening to a few of Hot Karl’s raps, and they are actually pretty good. Although he is kind of right, there is a definite similarity to Eminem. And it makes me really sad to think that Eminem’s success had anything to do with Hot Karl not having any.

This book shown a light on the music industry that revealed a lot of surprising aspects of the industry. I really enjoyed reading it, even though (despite my Eminem phase) I don’t really know anything or care much about rap or hip-hop music. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a moving memoir that has a great voice and story.

I am going to give Kanye West owes me $300 four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- Alice in Tumblr-land

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Alice in Tumblr-Land and Other Fairy Tales for a New Generation by Tim Manley
Published by Penguin Books on November 5, 2013
Genres: Humor, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Retellings, Short Stories
Pages: 265
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Goodreads

The Ugly Duckling still feels gross compared to everyone else, but now she’s got Instagram, and there’s this one filter that makes her look awesome. Cinderella swaps her glass slippers for Crocs. The Tortoise and the Hare Facebook stalk each other. Goldilocks goes gluten free. And Peter Pan finally has to grow up and get a job, or at least start paying rent.

Here are more than one hundred fairy tales, illustrated and re-imagined for today. Instead of fairy godmothers, there’s Siri. And rather than big bad wolves, there are creepy dudes on OkCupid. In our brave new world of social networking, YouTube, and texting, fairy tales can once again lead us to “happily ever after” — and have us laughing all the way.

Alice in Tumblr-land took classic children’s book characters and put them in the modern world, creating some pretty interesting situations. A lot of these situations, as I’m sure you can figure out by the title, have to do with social media and the internet.

This book was definitely written for adults. It had its fair amount of R rated content, and though some of it was entertaining, most of it just felt unnecessary and forced. The stories were split up into small paragraphs that rotated, so each of the individual stories ended up feeling disconnected. The stories, besides being set in modern times, really had no connection to each other.

The characters were very one dimensional and not engaging. It felt like each story took the most stereotypical view of each character that was possible and created these unrealistic situations around them.

Alice in Tumblr-land is a very short book, and took less than an hour to read (which tbh is probably the only reason that I finished it). If you are looking to kill an hour, reading this book isn’t the worst way to do it. That being said, I’m not any better off for having read it, so I guess it just comes down to if you enjoy this type of book or not (which, as it turns out, I do not).

I am going to give Alice in Tumblr-land two out of five hearts.

Book Review- How May We Hate You?: Notes From The Concierge Desk

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How May We Hate You?: Notes From The Concierge Desk by Anna Drezen and Todd Dakotah Briscoe
Published by Potter Style on May 17, 2016
Genres: Non-fiction, Humor, Contemporary
Pages: 144
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Amazon

Most people think hotel employees are effortlessly cheerful, naturally helpful, and genuinely like their work.

Most people are wrong.

Find out what really goes on in the world of hospitality with this hilarious book full of funny and absurd stories, anecdotes told in dialogue, factoids, and hoax pop quizzes by two veteran concierges who paid their way while working at a combined 50 hotels in and around Times Square. They are very pleased to help you learn the following:
·         The Truth About Bed Bugs
·         The Mythology of “Loyalty Programs”
·         The 411 on Hotel Residents
·         And so much more

Filled with photographs and infographics, How May We Hate You? is both romp and commentary on the hospitality industry and life behind the nametag.

How May We Hate You was funny. Very, very funny. The fact that the stories in the book actually happened make it all the better.

Anna and Todd use short stories, comics, sample conversations, and illustrations to show what goes on in the everyday life of a New York City hotel concierge. From the guests who think they know everything (and are actually completely clueless) to the ones from Toronto (you gotta read the book to understand that one), every page is filled with laugh-out-loud true encounters that seem almost too crazy to be true.

If I had to pick one thing about How May We Hate You that I liked most, it would be the honesty. Anna and Todd don’t make themselves out to be angel-like concierges that have to deal with terrible people all day. Instead, they seem like real people who make mistakes and judgements and are just trying to do the best they can.

Some parts of the book were a little slow, and some jokes I didn’t quite get, but over all I really enjoyed reading it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys non-fiction humor, or anyone who just wants to learn more about what it means to be a concierge.

I am going to give How May We Hate You four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

*This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. This has not in any way influenced my thoughts and opinions of the book

Book Review- What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions

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What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 2, 2014
Genres: Science,Non-fiction, Humor
Pages: 303
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Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD ‘a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language’ which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. ‘My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ‘ He liked these questions so much that he started up What If.

If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?

How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm?

If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce?

What if everyone only had one soulmate?

When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire?

How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?

What would happen if the moon went away?

In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.

What If? was great. Every question was answered through words, comics, and diagrams. The questions in the book truly were absurd, and the answers equally hilarious.

One of my favorite parts of the book were the “Weird (and Worrying) Questions” section. Every few pages there would be a page with two or three Weird/Worrying questions. Those questions were by far my favorite to read (even if some of them weren’t answered). I also love the comics in the book. Munroe does a great job illustrating the answers and bringing humor to his work.

The answers in the book are very easy to understand, even though some of them have very complicated ideas in them. Munroe does an excellent job of making everything understandable and enjoyable to read. There also is a great deal of humor in the writing, which makes the answers of these crazy questions even more fun to read.

Although some of the answers were amazing, there were some questions that just didn’t interest me, but I guess not every single Absurd Hypothetical Question can interest every single person out there. The book is most definitely worth reading, and it is something that I love showing to other people! Talk about a great conversation starter!

I am going to give this book four out of five hearts!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥