Friday, February 28, 2014

Review of Kissing: A Field Guide

Title: Kissing: A Field Guide
Author: Violet Blue
Format: Paperback, 164 pages
Pub. Date: February 11th 2014
Source: Cleis Press


Four and a half stars, rounded up.


Kissing: A Field Guide is a short little reference book on, you guessed it, how to be an excellent kisser. Violet Blue does a great job covering all questions and concerns that we've all asked ourselves about our kisses at one point or another, and offers advice on how to kick your game up a notch.

Since today is my "happy shit-ton-of-month-versary" with my significant other, I felt it was a great day to review this seductive little book. This book has it all, including a quiz to help you assess what kind of kisser you are. According to her quiz, "Victoria's got nothing on my secret". This may be my new comeback in all situations where it's applicable (and maybe even when it's not).

This guide offers tips on how to better your skills, how to deliver a kiss that says EXACTLY what you want, how to avoid the dreaded bad kissers, and so much more. Whether you want to know how to get rid of stubble-burn from too much nuzzling or some fun new games to play with your partner, this book has it. Both the kissing newbie and the seasoned seductress have something to learn from Violet's sage advice. I know I did, and I am officially excited to see my girlfriend over break next week. -waggles eyebrows-

The author includes handy lists too, such as songs to make out to (we differ greatly on this), movies to snog to, and the best flavors for your lips. The list of ways to ask for a kiss made me chuckle. Fun fact: I got nervous when my girlfriend hadn't kissed me on our first date. So what was my smooth reply as she was leaving? "Kiss me goodnight whore." It must have worked, since she still deals with my BS.

This is a great guide for anyone looking to be the best kisser that they can be, or to spice up things with their partner. Though this is written with the prose of a male/female relationship, the information is easily applicable to LGBT couples as well. Thanks to Violet Blue for bettering my skills (I hope) and to Cleis Press for sending me this little number in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mini Review: Who's 50

Title: Who's 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die - An Unofficial Companion
Author: Graeme Burk, Robert Smith?
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: October 1st 2013
Source: Netgalley & ECW Press


Four stars.


As any timelord will tell you, it is great to have a companion. Who's 50: The 50 Doctor Who Stories to Watch Before You Die - An Unofficial Companion is a great companion guide to the fifty years running British science fiction show, Doctor Who.

For old Whovians, this acts as a great refresher and a place to obtain additional knowledge. Things like behind the scenes information and fun little trivia facts are sprinkled throughout, offering things to teach you about the series we all adore so much. The book looks at the 50 episodes that every Whovian, new or old, should watch in order to familiarize themselves with the series. All regenerations are represented, from both new Who and the classic Who years.

These are not written in countdown, best-to-worse fashion, and because this book is unofficial, it is (thank goodness!) missing the "this show is perfect" floofy attitude that the network understandably would have spun on it. If something was bad or weird, the authors aren't afraid to let you know.

In addition to being good for the seasoned Who fan, this is also a great jumping off point for those who are looking into beginning the show. A relatively new fan myself (I started watching Ten's episodes while 11 was the current Doctor), I know that it is incredibly intimidating to pull up fifty years' worth of episodes. Do you need to watch them all in order? Where should you start? What is the DEAL? Who's 50 offers great episodes that shed light onto the universe of the timelords, summing up important events and lapsing. Of course most Whovians will tell you to watch them all, and I agree, but this DEFINITELY is a great place to start.

Thank you to Netgalley and ECW Press for my chance to read this.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Impossibly True Blitz & Giveaway

Series: Impossibly #2
Release date: February 2014
Publisher: TSW Books

Synopsis via Goodreads:
Moya is finally listening to her heart.
She’s ready for love and willing to bask in all the joy it brings, but still, she insists on taking things slow. After all, her relationship with Branden isn't the only one that needs a chance.

With his health scare behind him, Branden wants nothing more than to get his life back on track—play hockey again, catch up on school, and get things moving with his girlfriend.

In the middle of strengthening their relationship and sorting out their individual lives, trouble begins to brew, testing the depth of their feelings for each other.

Can Branden and Moya once again overcome their trials and prove that their love is indeed true, or will past ghosts and new temptations drive them apart forever?

About the Author
Shane Morgan is a writer of Young Adult and New Adult fiction. She enjoys contemporary, fantasy, romance, and horror. Shane physically lives in Rhode Island, but virtually she's in Neverland.
Her belief is that imaginations can never be too wild. If you’re thinking it then the story is already written inside your head. It’s simply time to share it with the rest of the world.
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Buy IMPOSSIBLY TRUE by clicking here!


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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [38]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to gab on about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week.

This is another two week post. This past week I've had about four papers due and honestly, I have been otherwise distracted. But now I have a mental break for a while, and I can get back to the blogosphere. I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day, and if any of you are in So. Illinois, I hope you are okay through that weather!


Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes, & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar by Gesine Bullock-Prado
Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Mark P. Donnelly
The Messy Baker: More Than 75 Delicious Recipes from a Real Kitchen by Charmian Christie
Talented by Sophie Davis
Saugatuck Summer by Amelia C. Gormley
Deer in Headlights by Staci Hart
Designated Mourner by Catherine Owen
Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival by Marcel Prins, Peter Henk Steenhuis


The Art of Catching a Greek Billionaire by Marian Tee


Scintillate by Tracy Clark (Thanks, Entangled teen!)
Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding (Thanks, Entangled teen!)
Astarte's Wrath by Trisha Wolfe (Thanks, Ketch's Book Nook!)
Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe (Thanks, Ketch's Book Nook!)

Valentine's Day Surprise:

The box my lovely girlfriend sent me for Valentine's Day, including perfume, a plushie, and three kinds of Reese's Cups haha. I'm glad she embraces my addiction.

[2] Week[s] at a Glance:

Giveaway & Blitz of A Chance at Love
Review of Heartbeat
Mini Review of 47 Ronin
Review of Mayim's Vegan Table

What about you?

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Title: Heartbeat
Author: Elizabeth Scott
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: January 28th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Harlequin Teen


Three stars.


Emma and her stepfather are in a stage of everlasting grief. Emma's mother is artificially alive, kept on the support of machines in the hospital in order to continue growing the unborn baby inside her. She doesn't expect to find help in the car-stealing bad boy Caleb, but learns that maybe her grief isn't forever, and that he could be the one to shake her from it.

Once again, I seem to be in the minority for this book. I have not read an Elizabeth Scott book prior to this one, and I had seen so many fangirling reviews that I thought that I must give this a read. And in all honesty, I'm surprised this book wasn't for me. I LOVE tearjerker books. I love books filled with drama. I love bad boys. But somehow all the things I love about the premise of this story got lost in translation.

The biggest issue that I had stems from the main character, Emma. My regular readers know that my connection to characters is vital to my enjoyment of a novel. To be blunt and simple, I hated Emma. She was a bundle of disrespect and hatred, and it made me extremely disinterested in how the story played out. She came across as downright mean. I understand that she was grieving, and that we all handle loss in different ways, but for me it was just too much.

Despite that, I will say that Elizabeth Scott is very good at writing prose. The book successfully manages to maintain a dreary, grieving tone throughout the story with a lot of good quotes within it to match. I feel that despite my hate towards Emma, she did have a sense of raw sincerity to her, at least with regards to Caleb and her mother. And, though it's not really an item that should be looked at while picking a book, the cover is gorgeous.

I cannot stress enough how much I love the concept for this book. It's a tragic story, a captivating one. Could you imagine being in Emma's shoes? It's heartbreaking. I hope that you read this and that you love it as I wanted to. However, this book just didn't hit the mark for me. That said, I would still consider reading more from this author in the future. Thanks to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for my copy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mini Review: 47 Ronin

Title: 47 Ronin
Author: Stan Sakai, Mike Richardson
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: February 19th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Dark Horse Comics


Three stars.


47 Ronin is a true national story from Japan of a group of samurai that avenge the death of their leader, using extreme examples of bravery, courage, and loyalty.

I'm not going to lie to you, I was unfamiliar with this story until I saw the movie version in theaters. When I found out, during the course of the film, that it is in fact a well known legend, I did a bit of research to learn a bit more information. And then I logged onto Netgalley, saw this graphic novel interpretation, and knew that I had to give it a read.

The artwork is very simplistic, but in a good sense. It looks very traditional to me (someone who has absolutely no knowledge of Japanese art history). The writing was also simple and easy to understand, but I felt that it was lacking. I think it was the character depth/connection. It's very hard to get that across in the confines of a comic, and unfortunately I feel that's the case for this story as well. However, I did really enjoy the additional information provided at the end of the book, as well as the footnotes throughout.

This is a solid read for those with an interest in revenge, samurai, or Japanese culture. Thank you to Netgalley & Dark Horse Comics for the chance to read this.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Blitz & Giveaway: A Chance at Love

Release date: February 13th 2014

A simple phone call can change your life... just ask successful businessman Sullivan Chasen.
When the caller shares the news that Sullivan's father is dying, Sullivan laughs and hangs up. He isn't being heartless, he just knows that it can't be true - because his father already passed away... ten years ago.
Like a bad dream, the calls keep coming and DNA results turn Sullivan's world upside down. There is only one way, and very little time, to figure out the truth. He packs his bags for the small town of Ferry Creek, North Carolina.
Once Sullivan arrives, he must confront a past he never knew existed, including a half-brother who lives above their family diner. The longer he spends away from his wealthy lifestyle and successful business, the more he falls in love with the small town, its community... and waitress, Jess Winthorne.
Can Sullivan Chasen go back to his normal life after learning about his past or will he discover the missing piece of his heart in Ferry Creek?

About the Author
Karolyn James is an award winning / bestselling romance author. Whether it’s contemporary romance, rockstar romance, western romance, or even steamy erotic romance… Karolyn writes it all!
Facebook | Wordpress | Twitter


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Monday, February 10, 2014

Review: Mayim's Vegan Table

Title: Mayim's Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours
Author: Mayim Bialik, Jay Gordon
Format: egalley
Pub. Date: February 11th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Da Capo Lifelong Books


Three stars.


Mayim's Vegan Table: More than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours is a collection of, you guessed it, family favorite vegan recipes from actress, mom, and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik.

The first part of this cookbook is full of really useful information; who the authors are and why you should listen to them, advice for getting your family to eat healthy, tips and facts about nutrition, and other useful background information that help form a good foundation of vegan cooking. If you are already living a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, this might not be news to you. However, I am a meat-eater, so that was new to me. On that note, I am a lover of food- meatless, meat-chocked, or otherwise. My eating meat in no way is reflected in my rating of this book.

The recipes in this collection are divided by course, making it easy to find a specific recipe for your family. There's also tips and nutrition tidbits included with each recipe. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed to find "fake" ingredients included so much. By fake, I mean things like vegan cheese or vegan sausage or vegan egg substitute. There's nothing wrong with these ingredients, but I don't really need a recipe book to tell me to swap out real meat for the vegan section kind. In addition, I'm a very visual person when it comes to cooking, and it bummed me out that no pictures were included.

Despite those hang ups I have with this cookbook, Bialik does a great job of representing a lot of different cuisines. There's Mediterranean, Mexican, Vietnamese, Jewish, and so many more cultures represented here. Props- it can't be easy creating vegan dishes from so many places. A few recipes I'm interested in trying are Corn Bread Thanksgiving Dressing, Sushi in a Bowl, Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies, and Spanakopita.

If you're looking to start eating healthier, or if you're a vegan/vegetarian looking for new takes on recipes, this is a book for you. Just be warned that there's no pictures. For me, that's a massive hindrance. Thank you to Netgalley & Da Capo Lifelong Books for my chance to read this.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Stacking the Shelves [37]

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews where we get to gab on about the books we've won, bought, or otherwise received in the past week.

In case you have not noticed, dear readers, I skipped last week's Stacking the Shelves post. Why, you may ask? Well, if you insist. It was my birthday last week! I didn't do too much, but I did go out for dinner and drinks with my friend Jessica, and my girlfriend sent me a care package for the occasion, as did my mom & grandmother!

So this post is from the past two weeks, and will include a little birthday spam too :) Brace yourselves for a long one!


My Irish Table: Recipes from the Homeland and Restaurant Eve by Cathal Armstrong, David Hagedorn
77 Things You Absolutely Have to Do Before You Finish College by Halley Bondy, James Lloyd
Sous Chef by Michael Gibney
Man Made Meals: The Essential Cookbook for Guys by Steven Raichlen
Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Hungry by H.A. Swain

From the Author:

The Echoes of Love by Hannah Fielding


The Edge of Always by J.A. Redmerski (Thanks Grand Central!)
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (Thanks, Ruth!)

Swag. Thanks Jennifer Lynne!

From the Publisher (Thanks Cleis Press!):

Kissing: A Field Guide by Violet Blue
Twisted: Bondage With an Edge by Alison Tyler
Best Erotic Romance 2014 by Kristina Wright

Birthday Goodies:

A coffee maker and cards from my mom & grandma.

Spoils from Emily! A sketch pad & pencils, a container of marshmallows, a Loki/Daft Punk t-shirt, a Bellydancing DVD, and a book I have been pining over for aaaaaaaages. Thanks darling.
The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn

[2] Week[s] at a Glance:

Review of Vampsov 1938
Review of Ice Dogs
Interview with Brian Joyce
Review of The Geneva Decision
Review of And We Stay

What about you?

Mini Review: Vampsov 1938

Title: Vampsov 1938
Author: Daniel Ribot
Format: ebook
Pub. Date: June 7th 2013
Source: Author


Four stars.


Vampsov 1938 is a book that I think I was overdue for. It's a historically set vampire book that features murder, spies, and action in the Stalin-era Soviet Union. These vampires aren't like the ones that have been trending lately- no over-romanticizing or brooding here. The vampires in Ribot's novel are heartless, coldblooded killers out for blood. This book is rather gory, but all of the killings and action sequences are well written. It was a nice change to read about vampires kicking ass in a World War Two setting. I openly admit that I am not a typical fan of spy/historical books with a few exceptions, but I found it well paced and intriguing.

I would suggest having a basic ground knowledge of this era before you give this a read: If you're unfamiliar with WW2, it won't be the easiest of reads. I also had trouble once in a while keeping all the names straight, but to be fair that's something that I have with other books too.

I also have to comment on the title art. I love it, and I would totally hang a poster of this up on my wall.

Fans of war, vampire, spy, and crime novels would benefit from picking up a copy of Vampsov 1939. Thanks so much for the author for my chance to read it.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Ice Dogs

Title: Ice Dogs
Author: Terry Lynn Johnson
Format: egalley.
Pub. Date: February 4th 2014
Source: Netgalley & Houghton Mifflin Books for Children


Four stars.


Teenager Victoria Secord loves racing her sled dogs. It helps her feel closer to her dad, and get in touch with the Alaskan outdoors that she adores so much. But one routine outing, she finds herself lost while trying to help out a young stranger named Chris. Together, and with the dogs of course, they must find their way back and survive the food, the wilderness, and the wicked Alaska cold.

First of all, look at this cover. It's mesmerizing. I am a big fan of huskies and wolves, so the cover alone drew me in at first glance.

This is a very vividly written story. I've never been to Alaska, but I felt that I had competed on the track alongside Victoria, and had been in the wilderness with her and Chris. Additionally, I have only ridden on a dogsled once, and it was a tourist attraction at an ice festival somewhere in Michigan. Therefore, my knowledge of the sport is essentially nothing. That being said, Terry Lynn Johnson did a great job in her description. I never felt lost or confused with Victoria's dogsled jargon or explanations about her skills and know-how.

Going based off of that, I didn't always care for Victoria as a character. I completely understand why she is written the way that she is, and it's not poor writing or character depth on the author's part. I just found her a bit too snarky at times, and I never completely connected with her. It didn't hinder my reading experience all too much, in the grand scheme of things.

All in all, I think this is a great book for middle-grade aged kids that love animals. It's educational about dogs and sledding, and gives a clean and intriguing story of survival. Honestly, it put me in mind of a book I read when I was in elementary school called My Life in Dog Years by Gary Paulsen. So if you or your child loves dogs, animals, or nature, this is definitely a good book choice.

Thanks to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Books for Children for my copy.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Interview & Review with Brian Joyce

Hello readers. I hope my fellow Midwesterners are staying safe in this icy cold, and if you're from somewhere warmer- I am insanely jealous. Today author Brian Joyce was cool enough to drop by my blog and answer a few questions about his book The B-Side Diaries. Thanks for stopping by!


What inspired you to be a writer?

Well, I know this is the part of the interview when most authors state how they always pictured themselves as writers, how when they were young they were always crafting stories, and that they spent a large majority of their youth with their noses in a book, but the reality for me is I became a writer when my first son was born.

It wasn’t until my wife and I adopted my son Milo in 2007 that I decided to write a book, and even then, it wasn't to publish it. I wrote THE B-SIDE DIARIES for kind of morbid reasons. When I became a father, I was 34, going on 35. Becoming a father forced me to remember when my father passed, at the age of 40. When he passed, I was very young. There were a lot of things I would like to have asked him in my teens and early twenties that I just didn't get the chance to ask him, and so I thought it was my fatherly duty to have something for Milo in case I wasn't around to provide advice. This way, I felt he could come back to the story, and gain some wisdom on how to lead his life. That was my original goal and inspiration for becoming a writer. Like I said, pretty morbid, but I’m glad I had that thought because it changed my life. When Milo came into my life, I was really out of shape. I weighed 220 lbs., and I am five feet six inches tall. My cholesterol was sky high (over 270 points), and I didn't take very good care of myself. Adopting Milo changed all that. I lost 50 lbs., and dropped my cholesterol by over 100 points, and I became an author in the process.

Also, when I first read the quote: “Some people’s lives are like an epilogue,” I knew that I would one day use it within a story. I read that quote for the very first time in the Rhode Island College library in 2003, and it changed the way I looked at my life.

I understand that this is a work of fiction, but is it based on a story from your life?

While this is a fictional story, there are parts of this book that borrow from life experiences. They mirror feelings and relationships that I had growing up. I feel most authors borrow from their own life experiences to create authenticity in their characters and their stories.

In particular, certain traits found in Rory’s friends are borrowed from friends that I had growing up, and the type of relationships I had with my closest friends. Also, I lived in Nashville for three years, so the love Rory feels for Nashville closely resembles my own. Next, the lyrics at the beginning of each chapter are actual lyrics from songs I wrote in my bands The B-Side Diaries and My Morning Radio. Last, the emotions of the story are anchored by feelings I felt when I lost my father at 10, my best friend Josh at 13, and my brother Tom at 17. While much of THE B-SIDE DIARIES is about death, I feel it is as much about life. It’s kind of like the Law of Polarity—you cannot talk about one, without referencing the other.

Music is a big focus of this book. What songs would you tell your readers to listen to while reading The B-Side Diaries?

Originally, the quotes at the beginning of each chapter were from punk bands I listened to when I was a teen. Once the book was finished and I thought about self-publishing, I realized that using other bands lyrics would not happen without some real dough, so instead I used lyrics from my songs that I felt matched the mood, or theme of the chapters. The bands that I originally quoted before I changed it are: Embrace, Face To Face, Jawbreaker, Watashi Wa, Gorilla Biscuits, The Starting Line, Foreverinmotion, The Promise Ring, Hot Water Music, Bayside, Descendents, Jimmy Eat World, and Procession Came Opposite. You can find all of the bands online somewhere.


Jimmy Eat World – For Me this is Heaven, and a LOT of the songs on their album Clarity
Bayside – Winter
Embrace – basically every song on their self-title album from 1987 (Dischord Records)
Gorilla Biscuits – Start Today
Watashi Wa – Broken Man and 10 Years and Separated States
Jawbreaker – Boxcar, Ache, and Accident Prone
Face To Face – Basically all of the Big Choice album
The Starting Line – Best of Me
The Promise Ring – “B” is for Bethlehem and Nothing Feels Good
Foreverinmotion – Ghost of an Old Friend
Hot Water Music – Minno
Descendents – I’m The One, Get the Time, Hope
Procession Came Opposite – My Radio Has Been Off For Years and Tape of Reason

Oh, I love Jimmy Eat World & Descendants. Good picks. Now, you're stranded on a deserted island and can bring only one book with you: what do you grab?

Probably one of the books in the survival guide series, preferably, one on surviving life on a deserted island. If not that, then Call of the Wild by Jack London, because it was one of my favorite books as a child.

Another great pick, Call of the Wild is one of my girlfriend's favorite book as well. Some authors write only in purple ink, others must sit in a specific chair when they write. Do you have any quirks or must-haves for when you write?

My must-have is music. A lot of THE B-SIDE DIARIES wrote itself when I listened to music as I typed. I wrote seven chapters in one night listening to The Weakerthans! The bands I listen to the most during writing are The Weakerthans, Owen, The Promise Ring, and Bayside (acoustic). Basically, I keep my music selection to soft, indie-rock music during writing, and I have it on really low. It helps clear out the clutter of my mind that is usually there to distract me.

There's no doubt that Rory would have wanted to talk to Christopher one last time. If you could sit down with any person, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Qow, good question! There are so many people that come to mind, from historical figures to poets, to writers, to rock stars, but quite honestly, I would have to say my father. He was one of the greatest men I have ever known. When he passed away, they closed two schools in our town so children and families could attend the funeral. They even named an outstanding achievement award after him that is given out every year at Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania. Specifically I would ask him to share his single greatest piece of advice for being the best father I can be. I don’t know a better way that one person can leave lasting changes on the world then by being an excellent parent.

The characters in your book identify as punks. Were you a part of the punk rock scene back in your school days? What "clique" did you associate with if not? How did it shape you?

During high school I appreciated punk rock. I was straight-edge, and was a skateboarder. I don’t think I identified myself as being a part of any clique. I gravitated toward genuine people, and didn’t think about cliques. While I hung out with punk rock kids and skateboarders most, I was friends with people at school that would classify themselves as anything but. That being said, skateboarding and punk rock music definitely shaped the person I am in many positive ways. Skateboarding taught me a lot about setting goals, and perseverance, and punk rock music provided me an ethos that anything can be created if you believe in the idea enough. In addition, both of these scenes showed me what community is all about. At a show or any skate spot, there are people from all walks of life and tolerance and respect is the cornerstone of these scenes. I became friends with and made acquaintances with many people I may have not associated with otherwise simply because I was invested in both of these scenes.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers out there who want to put their book out into the world?

Well, this may not be profound, but I would say, believe in yourself and your stories. Every author is unique, with unique set of life experiences and perspectives. If you are being true to yourself as a writer, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I would say that being true to yourself should be your goal, and to not write to fads, or genres that are hot. The reason why fads are fads is because someone, somewhere dared to be real, honest, and true to themselves as a writer, and readers connected to that. Last, the internet brings people together, and self-published books are forever. If you are an indie writer, and you have not found people buying your book in droves, don’t fret. You may not find your audience right away, but if your book is authentic, it will find an audience. One last piece of advice: be proud of your work, don’t denigrate because it didn’t make you famous or published. Writing is art, and art is its own reward.

Thanks so much for the great advice and the music tips too! Now, onto my review.


Title: The B-Side Diaries
Author: Brian Joyce
Format: Ebook
Pub. Date: October 31st 2013
Source: Brian Joyce


Three and a half stars, rounded up.

The B-Side Diaries is a faux-memoir that chronicles the story of seventeen year old Rory. Having been separated from his hometown and his old friends due to a move, his old life comes roaring back at him with a simple phone call: his best friend Christopher has died in an accident. And what makes his heart break further? It's he who will be writing the eulogy. The B-Side Diaries is a book about growing up, trying to find the truth in a crazy world, and how memories and music alike can shape you into who you really are.

When I got a request from the author to read this in exchange for my honest review, I knew immediately that I'd give it a read. As if the cover wasn't enough to draw me in, once I saw punk rock I was sold.

I really liked the message and the overall story of this book. I connected with it on a personal level because these "punks" were my friends in high school too. We were the ones going to shows and wearing dark clothes and make-up, letting music shape us and bring us closer together as friends. This is a story that I feel everyone will relate to though, regardless of clique. We've all been confused teens. We've all been uprooted in one way or another, and we've all had truths and fears that we have to overcome and search for. And, unfortunately, most of us have lost friends too young as well.

I really liked that Brian Joyce incorporated actual recording artist songs/lyrics in this book instead of defaulting to fictional ones. It was cool to be able to look up the words and hear the music as the character (and author) heard it.

The things I weren't so fond of were a few minor editing problems (that I'm sure will be fixed) that didn't hinder my reading too much. Additionally, I felt that sometimes the lead character's thoughts were a bit too poetic. Don't get me wrong- I totally get thought tangents that flow and don't stop. But I felt at times that his level of narration or assessment weren't in sync with his age.

All in all this is a book worth reading, especially for those who are fans of rock music. Thanks so much to the author for my chance to review this. You can pick the book up here on Amazon.