Monday, March 30, 2015

Bloggiesta Wrap-Up

Spring Bloggiesta 2015

So the biggest thing for me this Bloggiesta was pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I hosted a Bloggiesta Chat (click here for a recap of the discussion). I started YouTube Channel! In fact, here's my first ever YouTube video:

And yes, I definitely wore that shirt on purpose!

I did not accomplish all of my goals, though I only had four of them. I still haven't found a REALLY good cross posting tool. But I still feel accomplished. I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone and survived. Here's hoping I'll thrive!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ASAP Science by Mitchell Moffit & Greg Brown

This was such a fun an education read! I have never been more happy to pre-order a book! Like many early readers of this book, I first learned about it through the authors' YouTube Channel, ASAP Science.* I pre-ordered the book, hoping it would be as much fun to read as their videos were to watch. I was not disappointed!

While a lot of the topics in this book are also covered in their videos, they are still important to read about. I feel like this book plays an important role in bridging a gap for people between science and practically.** ASAP Science uses illustrations and conversational tone to keep everything interesting, light-hearted and informative. And if there was no clear answer*** they said so and easily explained why there was no answer.

The book does have a lot of illustrations so the reading is very quick. Also, while they do deal with topics related to sex and bodily functions, it is kept at about a PG rating.**** And while everything is in a friendly tone, there is still a lot of good information.

I gladly give ASAP Science 5 hoots and encourage everyone to pick up their own copy!


*Which I also highly recommend.
**Or everyday life.
***Labor Pains v Kick to the Balls
****Parents dependent.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

I'm not entirely sure what to make of this book. It's so very different from my usual reads, but it was certainly difficult to put down. I almost missed a bus stop because I was so focused on the story.

The story is certainly the reason I picked up this book. It is, technically, two stories, both about a young woman on a journey. It was interesting to see the parallels, find the connections and experience their convergence. The final chapters, the meeting of the two stories, did not contain many surprises. Rather, when they were revealed, they made me feel "that makes sense."

This book is certainly not for everyone. There is violence, sex, rape, suicidal thoughts, etc. Though the characters seemed to treat these things casually, I feel Byrne wrote them well and gave them the proper context to keep them from feeling flippant. Nothing that is written in this book is done so without purpose. There is no meaningless exposition.

So, while this book is not for the faint of heart, I still appreciate it's ability to keep my interest by making me think. 4.5 hoots!


*I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bloggiesta To-Do List

Gah! It's already that time again?! It's a good thing Bloggiesta is such a fun event! Okay, priorities. I need a To-Do List.

Probably the highest priority for me this Bloggiesta will be hosting a Twitter Party on Saturday, March 28 at 2 PM. This is my first time hosting one of these! I really hope I don't screw it up...

Okay, okay. Focusing on my To-Do List, specifically for sprucing up my blog and making some changes that I've had on the back-burner for a while.

1) Add a page with my review policy (including an explanation of my rating system).
2) Decide if I should focus on certain genres or continue to do somewhat of a mash-up of all.
3) Do a video review of a video game or a recipe.*
4) Look into blogging tools that help with cross-posting and starting using one of them.

This is kind of a short To-Do List, yes, but some of these things are big projects (for me) and I work full time, so I need a shorter list.

I will be doing all that I can to make sure that I get to every single Twitter Party and I will do everything in my power to make sure that the Twitter Party I am hosting** goes smoothly and is lots of fun for everyone. I really do enjoy Twitter parties with other bloggers and with other readers!

Best of luck to all in completing their To-Do Lists!

*This will probably "force" me to work on a YouTube channel, which I've also had on the back-burner for a REALLY long time.
**Which is a big deal for a small time blogger like myself!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Galileo's Middle Finger by Alice Dreger

Galileo's Middle Finger by Alice Dreger

This book ended up being a lot more autobiographical and filled with drama than I initially thought it would be. To be fair, there are a lot of topics in the book that make it hard to separate emotions from fact. In the overall scheme of the book, this may actually be a good thing for Dreger's main message. She continuously discusses the need to keep going and searching for the truth, which would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, without an emotional interest.

I strongly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in activism or academia. It is an unfortunately accurate portrayal of how the noble quest for truth has been seriously hindered by personal agendas, politics and the sheer power of public outrage at any sensitive topic being discussed rationally. It is filled with stories of the messenger being shot, especially when they are simply trying to be fair and follow the facts.

Overall, I happily give this book 4 hoots!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Fold by Peter Clines

When I first submitted my NetGalley request to receive an advanced electronic copy of The Fold, I really didn't think I'd get approved. When I did, I was literally bouncing with joy.* That being said, I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review, so I will be honest in this.

Peter Clines does an amazing job of keeping me excited to read during this entire book. I was actually writing notes of what I thought was going on in a separate notebook. Looking through them, I can easily tell you that, while it was easy to pick up on several things, my theories at the start of this book were definitely off. It was a joy to get all the pieces of the puzzle and put them together as the characters were.**

The pacing of this book is also well timed. It has several parallels to other books by Clines in terms of pacing, but there was one big difference. I let my guard down at one point, just in time to be hit with a twist that left me wondering what happened. After that I paid even better attention to the clues, because Clines definitely gives you the clues you need, if you know where to look. This is made even funnier by the fact that the main character is a regular Mycroft (hence his nickname, Mike) and is also looking for clues.

I did not know at the start of this book that it is a kind of sequel to 14, but it ended up not surprising me when I got to the relevant sections of The Fold. Unlike 14, though, The Fold did have more gore, but it actually gave me a moment of pure terror. The kind of terror that has every ounce of your being saying "this should not be happening!" It also made a few scenes more exciting towards the end because I knew what was going on.***

Once again, Clines does a masterful job with character development and dialogue. I am hoping that they don't make significant changes in this by the time it gets published because the dialogue is memorable, as is. It's so natural and real, I cannot praise it enough. I know people like these characters and these are the kinds of things they'd say.

Overall, The Fold is yet another Peter Clines success. He had me completely immersed in this world from the first chapter. Even if some of the plot points were predictable, Clines kept the story exciting and engaging. This is another Clines book that I'm going to have to get my hands on. 5 Hoots!


*Don't believe me? Ask my husband.
**Sometimes in advance of the characters, but not by much.
***Seriously, read 14 first!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Fairest by Marissa Meyer


I read this book in one sitting. Even if it had been longer than 222 pages, I would have read it in one sitting. I almost always appreciate when an author takes a break from the main story line to give us more history on a character. This book is an incredible example when this works. Fairest gives us the background on the Evil Queen that I loved to hate from The Lunar Chronicles and, while I still do not like her, I at least understand her.

Probably what I loved most about this book was its handling of the topic of real love. Levana's romantic fantasies/concepts remind me of my own from when I was her age. I wish she could have held out long enough to get to experience the real thing, like her "true love", Evret, told her she should do. Levana is the embodiment of the expectations teenage girls develop from too many fairy tales and not enough real life stories of love. I recommend this book for anyone who has ever been a "fangirl". You will recognize the symptoms in Levana.

This entire book, from beginning to end, had me filled with emotions, not all of them sympathetic to Levana. Even now, after I'm done with the book, I still feel the effects of it. I still do not like her, but I understand her. I pity her because she never had a chance at being stable. I gladly give this book 5 hoots and strongly encourage you to get your own copy.


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Undeniable by Bill Nye

I'll be the first to admit, science, especially biological science, was never my strong suit. My highest high school science grade was a B in Physics. This is important for you to know because my biggest praise for this book is how understandable everything is. Nye does an amazing job at keeping this book at a level of comprehension for those of us who do not have strong science backgrounds. Nye is clearly tapping into his presentation skills when writing this book because he is able to go in depth about evolution without causing my eyes to glaze over in boredom. I'll admit, it was still a slow read, but non-fiction always is for me.*

Nye admits that this book was written largely in response to the debate he had with creationist Ken Ham.** But there are several points in the book that Nye says he doesn't see why acceptance of evolution should mean a disregard for one's religion. This is also a sentiment I can appreciate.

I heartily endorse the reading of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye, especially as someone who has had problems with science comprehension. It is easy to read and easy to understand. 4 hoots!


*Hence the reason it's been a few weeks since I posted a review.
**Be warned, it's a long, but informative, video.