Review: Conquer the Day

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Design) in exchange for an honest review.

This was a strange yet inspiring book!

Essentially, this is an illustrated cartoon style book of affirmations. It features classic affirmations such as “I attack the day with energy and conviction” alongside tongue-in-cheek pictures. That particular affirmation was paired with the cover photo, showing an unamused, not ready to get out of bed person. This contrast and duality made the book very fun and relatable. I find typical affirmation materials to be a little too upbeat and saccharine, so I appreciated this take on affirmations. My favorite one was a doodle of a man wearing headphones and listening to the affirmation, “I am sexy and people want to be around me.” That one was hilarious and also resonated with me. 

I am not familiar with the author’s work (@PantsPants on Instagram and @Pants on Twitter if you want to check out his stuff), so this was my first exposure to it. I found the illustrations to be cute but also weird and sometimes disturbing (but not in a bad way). It’s unique to say the least, but it worked so well for this book. 

Overall, this was an amusing little book and would make a great gift! 


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Review: I Used to Have a Plan

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Harper Design) in exchange for an honest review.

This was such a gem of a book! 

The book is full of illustrations and sayings to help you through tough times. It is divided up into 5 sections for every step in your journey. I found the whole thing to be so relatable. My life has definitely not gone according to plan. There were many pictures/sayings that resonated with me. I particularly liked one in the beginning that said, “This was not how it was supposed to go” with a headstone that said “My ego” on the opposite page. That one hit hard. 

I loved the overall aesthetic of the artwork. It was very clean and simple yet still packed a punch. Because of its simplicity, it had a calming effect. 

I also liked the short introduction that the author wrote explaining the inspiration of the book. I can tell that the book comes from her heart and experiences. 

The book is fairly basic, so I wished there was a little bit more in terms of depth and content. It could have been expanded more. 

Overall, I loved how relatable this book is! I recommend it for anyone who may need a little pick me up after life knocks them down. 


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Review: Dogstrology

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

I love dogs. I love astrology. So of course I loved this book! 

This is a cute little book that pairs adorable pictures of dogs with astrology. The tone is light and humorous. I laughed out loud a few times. I particularly loved the little note on the edition notice page. It said, “Any resemblance in these astrological readings to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Also, it’s astrology, of course it’s accurate.” I loved that they put that there even though very few people read the edition notice page. 

I enjoyed looking at all the photos of the dogs. However, it is worth noting that none of the photos are original to the book. The photos are from Shutterstock.

As for the astrological content, it is very basic. Don’t expect to learn a whole lot. The descriptions are very brief. I’m already well acquainted with astrology so nothing was new to me. I also just want to point out that this book is not about astrology for your dog, it’s a book that uses dogs to explain astrological concepts. 

Overall, if you love dogs or astrology or just super fun books in general, then pick this book up! It would also make a great gift.


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Review: A Wealth of Pigeons

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Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher (Celadon Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

This was a delightful book of cartoons!

In such uncertain and anxious times, it’s nice to be able to just sit down, take a breather, and have a laugh. This book did exactly that! 

The humor is very much like the cartoons you encounter in the newspaper. The same goes for the artwork. It definitely made me nostalgic for the cartoons I used to read in my local paper when I was a kid. 

As typical with a cartoon collection, there were some cartoons that I really liked and some that I didn’t quite get. 

I liked that there were cartoons about the creation of the book interspersed throughout it. It was a fun touch and I liked seeing the collaboration between Steve Martin and Harry Bliss come together. I also liked that the end pages showed rough drafts of some of the cartoons. It was cool to see that behind the scenes aspect. 

Overall, if you like the cartoons that you get in your Sunday paper, then you’ll probably like this collection! This book would also make a great gift.


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Review: You Can Only Yell at Me for One Thing at a Time

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Rating: ★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Celadon Books) for promotional purposes.

Given all the craziness right now, the world could use a little humor so I thought it would be the perfect time to read this book. I was right. This was such a funny little read!

The book basically consists of little cartoons about relationships/love/marriage. I am not married so I can’t necessarily relate to everything, but a lot of the cartoons reminded me of my parents and their relationship. 

I found the cartoons to be really funny. Obviously some were better than others but I did laugh out loud at quite a few of them. For example, “Celebrate the little things…” on page 13 was hilarious. I also loved “If you are still fighting, it means you are still together” (pg. 91) and “Remember: if you were single, there’d be nobody to watch your luggage in the airport while you go to the restroom” (pg. 131). 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a super quick read and is the perfect gift to give to your significant other. Also, given the quarantine, I think it’s the perfect thing to read if you’re stuck at home with them and need something to lighten the mood.


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Review: For Your Consideration Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books).

This book is what dreams are made of! I liked Dwayne Johnson before reading this book, but now I LOVE Dwayne Johnson.

Going into this book, all I was expecting was a silly little book about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. What I got was a fun book about Dwayne Johnson that also offered insightful commentary about masculinity and privilege. The book discusses how Dwayne Johnson challenges traditional notions of masculinity. For example, most of his love interests are age appropriate, which is becoming increasingly rare to see in movies. The book also highlights the fact that Dwayne Johnson is half black and half Pacific Islander and therefore did not have the same privileges as some of his fellow white action stars.

This book is also hilarious. It has fun extras like a quiz on which Rock character you should take to prom, a Rock version of the Oscars, and a ranking of his catchphrases. My favorite was the section on the Rock’s road to EGOT (an acronym that stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). The author came up with three theories on how the Rock can win all four awards. They were laugh out loud funny.

I also liked the short afterword the author wrote detailing how the book came into fruition. You can tell that he really loves and is passionate about Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Overall, I recommend this book to both die-hard and casual Dwayne Johnson fans. This book will make you love the Rock even more than you already do.

This is just the first book in Quirk Books’ For Your Consideration series, and I cannot wait to read the next installment. It just so happens to feature my new favorite actor and current celebrity crush, Keanu Reeves.

Review: William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Mean Girls

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Rating: ★★★★★

I received this book for free from the publisher (Quirk Books) in exchange for an honest review. 

OMG this book was hilarious! Mean Girls is one of my all time favorite movies so I was so excited to read this book. 

This book is basically the entire Mean Girls movie turned into a Shakespearean play. The author did an amazing job translating it into a Shakespeare play. All the iconic lines (“You go Glen Coco!”, “The limit does not exist”, etc.) were given a Shakespeare makeover. Even “Jingle Bell Rock” which is played in the iconic Christmas show scene got translated. 

The author also did a good job putting in stage directions. The movie does jump around a lot and the author managed to make it work by utilizing a balcony. I totally want to see this play come to life on the stage! 

The book also has cute little illustrations throughout which were a nice touch.

If you are not familiar with Shakespearean plays, the author does include some helpful notes at the end that explain the elements. 

Basically, I loved how the book made Shakespeare so accessible to modern reader by combining it with a movie a lot of people know and love. It helps makes Shakespeare less intimidating. 

Overall, this is a must read for all Mean Girls and/or Shakespeare fans. I also recommend it for people looking for an introduction to Shakespeare but may not be ready for his actual work. 

Review: How to Leave

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Rating: ★★★

I received an ARC of this book for free through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers.

This book did not start off very strong. I wasn’t really into it at first. I got about 50 pages in and was sort of “eh” about it. Part One consisted of a lot of rambling. There was no focus; just a bunch of random anecdotes that were all over the place. It also seemed like it was trying way too hard to be funny. As the book progressed, it did get better.

Once the author started writing about her new home in Wisconsin, there was more of a focus and some funny parts. For example, I did enjoy the bits about the culture shock.

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I think the book had an interesting goal in mind: a tongue in cheek “guide” on how to leave a big city. However, I didn’t think this actually needed to be a whole book. The book seemed to repeat a lot of the same ideas about moving over and over again. There just wasn’t a lot of actual substance to warrant an actual book. The whole thing could have been consolidated into a couple of chapters in a larger memoir or even as a magazine editorial.

Overall, this was an interesting read that did have its moments, but would have been better off as a shorter work.