Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stephanie Perkins is adorable and inspiring

Okay, so confession time--I have never actually been to a book signing.

Until tonight, when I got to meet Stephanie Perkins and Jon Skovron at The Doylestown Bookshop. I'm glad I went, because after hearing them discuss their books and writing process, I got more inspired to start working on my manuscript as much as humanly possible. (Although now I'm considering changing my character Sufjan's name. Maybe I should just go with the hockey references and name him Clarke, or Claude...or even Lindros? But that's for another blog post.)

I haven't read any of Skovron's books, but after hearing him talk about Man Made Boy, I am hooked and I need to add that book to my TBR pile. I read all three of Perkins novels rather quickly, and I was having a hard time deciding which was my favorite. I really liked Isla and the Happily Ever After, but Lola and the Boy Next Door really spoke to me on so many levels. No, I don't have gay dads, but I was always that "weird" girl in school that dressed in whatever she felt like and did not give two shits what people thought of her. To be honest, sometimes I feel like that "weird girl in advertising" at my day job, so perhaps that's why I latched onto Lola so much.

Perkins revealed that Lola was actually the first book she wrote, and after hearing the struggles she went through with it, I knew then that it was my favorite. She also said when she was struggling with her writing she got inspired by something Meg Cabot wrote on her blog. You know, my favorite author Meg Cabot! I think that endeared me to Perkins more, because Cabot is the reason I wanted to be a novelist. From the reviews I've read Lola wasn't as well received as Anna, but I liked that book so much better. So of course I brought that one to get signed and told her that it was my favorite. Because even before I went to the signing tonight, I knew that book was my favorite,  I just needed someone else to convince me.

It was really great to hear a real live author speak, because it really inspired me to start getting back to work on my novel. I starting working on my novel again after months away shortly after I started this blog, but lately I have really been slacking. I'm blaming Netflix, but really it's me. I just have not had any motivation, and every time I work on it, I end up just reorganizing the chapter breaks in the first four, so I don't really get any work done. So now I know I HAVE to get back into it. I have been writing dialogue in random notebooks here and there when I get inspiration, but I'm ready to get back into the meat of the story. Being a published writer is the only thing I live for, and I need to start fighting for it.

Are you a fan of Stephanie Perkins? Which was your favorite book? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reads, Everyone!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dad is Fat: Book Review

Jim Gaffigan is funny as hell. Whenever a new one of his comedy specials comes on, I try to watch it as soon as humanly possible. So when I saw his book was available for review from Blogging for Books, I jumped on the chance. I struck out with the first two books I've reviewed, but the last one was good, and I had a feeling that one would be a good laugh.

I was right. One thing I did notice was that if you are a fan of his comedy you will probably have a sense of deja vu as you read this. Gaffigan's comedy talks about his crazy life with his five kids in a small two-bedroom apartment in New York. Since this book is about his kids driving him to insanity, some of his comedic one liners and stories resurface in this book. I have also heard that he does the reading for the audio book and he added some side comments that weren't in the book.

I think this book is great for people who have kids, no matter how many. I think they will be able to relate to this a lot. People who read this and don't want kids, may have been given another reason not to. One of things that I liked about this book is that Gaffigan broke the "fourth wall" of a book by actually addressing the reader not only in his funny foreword but throughout the book. I think it really set the tone for the stories he would tell in the rest of the book.

I recommend this if you like Gaffigan's commedy and/or you are just looking for a light hearted short book to read in-between others. It's funny, not too long and you'll close the last page with a laugh!

Click here for more info and a bio on Jim Gaffigan.  I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review. 

Happy Reads, Everyone!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Stephanie Perkins Mini-Book Review

Late last week I wrote about my excitement over Stephanie Perkins coming to my local bookshop.  She'll be doing a book signing there this Thursday, and I was really trying to finish her last book Isla and the Happily Ever After before then. Well I did it, mostly because of my long train ride, but also because I could not put that book down! So I decided to do an abbreviated version of the reviews I usually write for Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla.

Lola And The Boy Next Door

When I was perusing the reviews on goodreads, I noticed a lot of people really did not like Lola's story. I am not one of those people. It seems like everyone fawns over the first novel Anna and the French Kiss, but I just thought it was okay. Still liked it, but not as great as everyone makes it out to be. Now the second novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, I really liked. I liked the inclusion of LGBTQ characters in Lola's Dads. I don't think I've actually read a book with gay parents, and I really liked that juxtaposition.

Lola was so over the top with the crazy outfits, but I think Perkins made her unique quirk more believable than Anna's love of film, because Lola was hardcore about her costumes and made them herself so she really needed to know what she was talking about. Lola's love of costumes wasn't an afterthought but rather encompassed the whole novel, and I think that was where Perkins was able to flesh out her characters better.

The one thing that I didn't like about this novel, was that like Anna's story there was that infidelity issue. I did like that this time it was the girl that was in the relationship, and that she only really emotionally cheated on her scummy boyfriend. I just really am not a fan of toeing that line of morality, so it's the one thing I would really change about the novel.

Isla and The Happily Ever After
Okay, again it seems like a lot of people don't like this book either, and it doesn't make sense to me! I think Perkins books got better each time, and I felt like I related to Lola and Isla so much better than Anna. Plus no questionable morality in this one, yay! Isla's story was a bit different because instead of the whole girl meets boy, they fall in love, the end, we get the girl meets boy they fall in love but then everything goes wrong. I liked this because it made Isla and Josh's relationship seem so real. They are hot and heavy and seem to more too fast, but like in reality it bites them in the ass. I really liked that. Relationships are hard, and sometimes things fall apart for the dumbest reasons.

Isla wasn't a perfect story though. Isla starts to get jealous of Josh's ex later in the story and starts to do really stupid shit. I wanted to shake her! Again, I think that was how Perkins made this story more real than the others. Don't worry though, this is a love story, not a break up story! I don't want to spoil it, so you'll have to read it for yourself!

I still can't decide if Lola and the Boy Next Door or Isla and the Happily Ever After is my favorite. I could not put either book down and I really liked both of them better than her debut novel. I'm not sure if this in the end of Perkins companion series or not. I would love to see her go into the New Adult genre and write Rashmi's story at Brown or even Meredith's story in Rome. Either way I'm interested to see what Perkins does next, and I'm really excited to meet her on Thursday!

Happy Reads, Everyone!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Stephanie Perkins At the Doylestown Bookshop!

So I haven't been too active on the blog lately, but unfortunately it's not because I've been working hard on revising my novel. No, I'm still procrastinating with that project for the moment. Mostly it's because I've been binge watching Battlestar Galactica before Netflix pulls it in October, but also because I've been spending a lot of time trying to read all three of Stephanie Perkins novel by next Thursday, September 11th.

Anna and the French Kiss had been on my to-read-read pile for YEARS! I really drug my feet to read the novel, but I always had the intention to, just never the right motivation. Until I joined the Teen Book Club at my local bookstore, The Doylestown Bookshop. I had been going for a few months before they had confirmed that Stephanie Perkins would be visiting and doing a signing on September 11th. So we decided to read her first novel for our September meeting.

I wrote a review here about her first novel. I liked it, but I had a few nit-picky issues with it, but I was really hopefully for the next book Lola and the Boy Next Door. I haven't written a review for the second novel, since I just finished it last night, but let me tell you I LOVED Lola. I could not put that book down! She was over the top with wearing costumes all the time, but I loved that because I was the weird girl in High School that wore corsets and 1950s style dresses to school, so I really related to Lola. I might write a review of the second novel, so more on that later. I'm going to start the newest book Isla and the Happily Ever After today and since I'm traveling to Harrisburg by train this weekend to visit my boyfriend, I am pretty confident that I'll be able to finish it by Thursday. I'll probably finish it this weekend!

So, I am pretty excited for Stephanie Perkins' signing at my local bookstore, partly because I do really like her novels and I'm excited to meet her. The other part is because I have never actually been to a book signing. I know as a huge reader that might come off as strange, but I just never had the opportunity before. I met Laurie Halse Anderson in middle school when she came to my school to talk about Speak, but that wasn't a traditional "book signing". The Bookshop hosts a plethora of events, but other than the book club, I haven't really gone to any, so I'm hoping it will help me to start branching out.

Happy Reads, Everyone!