BOOK REVIEW: Jenna Fischer “The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide”

51lpLheLJeL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide

Author: Jenna Fischer

Genre: Memoir/How-To/Self-Help

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

While I’m not an aspiring actor and therefore not the intended audience of this book, I still found it incredibly interesting.

Less memoir and more “how to make it as an actor”, there were still plenty of really cool tid-bits and stories from the filming of The Office and some of Jenna’s other projects. I immediately watched the Casino Night episode upon completion since I now have some of the “behind the scenes” knowledge.

So while this might appeal to fans of Pam and The Office for some special insights and stories, I also found this read informative. This is the perfect book for someone who is looking to become an actor, and would highly recommend that every wanna-be check this book out. Fischer shares some great pointers and advice, making this both a fun and educational read.

In conclusion: this book is meant for aspiring actors, but can also be enjoyed by some die-hard fans of The Office. I happened to find it highly entertaining!

PS: if you listen to the audiobook, the foreword (written by Steve Carell) is read by Rainn Wilson and is hilarious. If nothing else, listen to it for that reason.

BOOK REVIEW: Maggie O’Farrell “I Am, I Am, I Am”

81CDbgRQIrLTitle: I Am, I Am, I Am

Author: Maggie O’Farrell

Genre: Memoir

My Rating: 4/5 stars

 

A book about 17 near-death experiences, what could possibly go wrong?

This book was both incredibly interesting and anxiety-inducing. I finished this book with an intense fear of the world and the people in it. There are so many horrible humans who are out to hurt others. The earth itself is full of hazards and animals and things that will kill you. I mean, you can’t read this book and not think about all the ways that you could have died already in your own life. All the near death experiences that you’ve had. It makes you feel so very mortal.

There were parts that made my skin crawl, chapters that made it difficult to breathe, whole segments that made your own heart beat faster for the narrator. There were some parts that dragged, but it was ultimately amazing.

One chapter in particularly shook me to my core, but it’s not exactly a near-death experience. It talked about the author’s several miscarriages, and reading it so close to my own miscarriage was definitely a punch to the gut. It was strangely healing, but definitely hard to read.

O’Farrell’s writing was absolutely beautiful. She conveyed emotions flawlessly and made me feel everything that she had been feeling. It was such a roller coaster of a book, but I would say it was a rewarding one.

BOOK REVIEW: Felicia Day “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)”

23705512Title: You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)

Author: Felicia Day

Genre: Memoir/Humor

My Rating: 5/5 stars

 

I actually really enjoyed this.

I say really, because I didn’t expect much from this. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been exposed to Felicia Day much except for her role in Eureka and a few episodes I’ve seen her in on Supernatural. I knew she was considered “Queen of the Geeks”, so she’s someone that I should know more about since I’m a self-proclaimed geek myself. I knew she was a gamer, but I’m only just now getting into video gaming and it’s definitely just on a recreational, occasional basis.

Moving on, Felicia Day’s memoir was so much more than I could have ever imagined.

First of all, I listened to the audiobook, which was read by her; so listening to her story in her own voice was an experience in itself. It felt like it was being told and read in the way that she intended, so it was perfect. Day is so funny, so her voice was a delight.

Learning about her early life was so interesting. I could definitely relate to her homeschool trials, being homeschooled myself, and found it so interesting that she originally went to college on a violin scholarship. Yet even though she could have made a career out of that, Day realized that she wasn’t passionate about playing violin like she should be. She chased a dream that hadn’t even fully formed yet, and for some reason there’s something so inspiring about that to me.

I’ve struggled myself lately, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life and what kind of career I want to pursue. There aren’t a lot of options for someone who doesn’t have a degree and doesn’t feel good enough to try. But Felicia Day dreamed and she took a leap. She put herself out there.

Amazingly, it wasn’t her work in commercials that launched her fame, but her web series start up. Felicia went against all odds to film a show without any professional help or funding, and she made a name for herself. I think that’s awesome, and it makes me think and realize that I am capable of anything. If she can do it, so can I.

It’s been a long time since a book moved me to become motivated in the way that I am now. It was amazing. I’m so glad that I read this and I think that anyone who needs a little push should read this as well.

BOOK REVIEW: Anna Kendrick “Scrappy Little Nobody”

14-scrappy-little-nobody.w245.h368.2xTitle: Scrappy Little Nobody

Author: Anna Kendrick

Genre: Memoir/Non-fiction

My Rating: 2/5 stars

 

How the heck are you supposed to write a review or rate a book about someone else’s life? Like, “Uh, yeah, your life sucks, 2/5 stars”? How dare I?

For the record, Anna Kendrick’s life doesn’t suck. Anna Kendrick herself does not even suck. The way she wrote this book does, though.

This was oh so painful for me to read and I have a hard time putting a finger on why. I think there’s a part of me that expected this to be funny, and it wasn’t. Not really. At least, I didn’t think it was funny. The sad thing is, I think it was intended to be funny, but I didn’t think it was. Anna Kendrick is an incredibly funny person, so I truly don’t understand why Scrappy Little Nobody wasn’t funnier.

And the really sad thing is I could tell that she was trying to be funny, but I think I maybe chuckled once while reading this.

The way the book was written seemed incredibly choppy to me. It didn’t flow at all, she just moved on from topic to topic like, bang, bang, bang, bang, too fast for me to keep up, and I’m like, “Hey, what?”

Kendrick talked a lot about Broadway. Which is great, that’s incredibly interesting but like, she talked about it A LOT. She talked a crap-ton about making the movie Camp, which again, super interesting, but I haven’t seen Camp. I don’t understand all these obscure references. I don’t care that much.

Girl honestly, I wanted to read about Pitch Perfect, but she literally mentioned it, like, once. What the poop, Anna Kendrick? (PS – she may have mentioned it more, but I wouldn’t know because I skimmed the last half of the book because it was boring as crap. She definitely didn’t write some big segment about it like she did about her time in High Society ((which nobody cares that much about)).)

Fact is, this was a disappointment. I was looking forward to reading this, laughing, and getting some inside scoop on the creation of one of my favorite movies ever. Instead, all I did was chuckle once and learn a bunch of useless information about Broadway. Boo.

 

Anna Kendrick: Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

The Best Books I Read in 2017

This year was full of many duds when it came to new releases or even old releases that I finally got around to, but there were a few stand-outs that really caught my attention and became new favorites of mine, the first of which was Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham.

CpH4ANsVUAE5OwOGilmore Girls is one of my favorite TV shows, and Lorelai is one of my favorite characters. She’s sassy, spunky, quirky, and hilarious, and I hoped that reading Graham’s memoir would make me love the actor who played her. (PS – it did.)

This reading experience was so much fun; Graham’s voice was so clear through her writing, and I can only imagine how wonderful this audiobook must have been. I loved reading about her life and some behind the scenes tidbits from Gilmore Girls, Parenthood, and A Year in the Life. This was my first 5 star read of 2017 and really just made my heart so happy.

29772863Next up was a graphic novel by none other than Marissa Meyer, a personal favorite of mine and a staple in the YA book community. That book would be Wires and Nerve, which is a sort of spin-off of the Lunar Chronicles following the adventures of Iko the android. Seeing as Iko was never a favorite character of mine, I was surprised by how much fun I had reading this and how much I now anticipate book two! This was my second experience reading a graphic novel and it has also given me a thirst for more. (PS – if anyone has any recommendations for other good graphic novels, comment below because seriously, I need more.)

DocumentAnother surprise was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. You can read my full review for this book here, but basically this book was incredible. It had everything I ever wanted and checked all of my boxes and was absolutely amazing. There was magic and mystery and action and romance and twists and family drama, and truly I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to buy copies for everyone I know and force them to read this except I don’t have that kind of money, so all I can say is: do whatever you can to get your hands on a copy of Caraval.

9781250050748Another book that I loved was This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales. For some reason, this received a 4 star rating according to my Goodreads, but that may change upon further inspection because really, this book was so incredibly moving. Not only did I relate to the main character, I felt that it was a beautiful story of redemption and growth and moving past the pain of your past. I wrote a full review for this book here, so feel free to check out my complete thoughts on it and then hopefully pick up the book for yourself.

34538054The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jones is another book that snuck up on me and became a quick favorite. The story was very unique and sucked me in fairly easily, but ended up really tugging on my heart-strings as well. I didn’t expect this to be such an emotional read, although I should have based on other people’s reactions. This was such a special book with such a heart-wrenching ending, but I can see myself rereading this for sure. Definitely check this pick out, and also my original review for it.

29385546Marie Lu’s most recent release definitely made it on the list; Warcross exceeded my expectations. I didn’t want to get too caught up in the hype lest it let me down, but this book is well-deserving of the praise. It was cool and modern, with interesting characters, a steamy love interest, and an awesome concept. This book made me want to get sucked into video game culture and participate in this world of virtual reality and technology. Check out my full review for Warcross here.

81uGB-QT1hLGeekerella by Ashley Poston was not a surprise favorite for me. I went into this book 100% certain that I was going to love it, and I was not disappointed in the slightest. This fairytale retelling of a fangirl Cinderella was adorable, funny, fresh, and such good fun. I wrote a review for Geekerella here, but you can just take my word for it: this retelling is so worth it. You may think that this story has been wrung dry, but I think there are still so many new and special ways to tell this classic tale.

Xpress-YA-Bardugo-TheLanguageofThornsThe last favorite of 2017 was The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. Sometimes I have issues with short story collections because typically, there are a few in the batch that aren’t as good as the others. This was not the case with this compilation. Every single story included in The Language of Thorns was exceptional, and I was so pleased with the entire reading experience. The illustrations on every page were stunning, and the stories were all beautiful and unique. Check out my review for this book here, and then buy it for yourself because you know you want to.

This was such an incredible batch of books and I’m so excited for the new stories I’ll be introduced to in the coming year! What are some of your most anticipated 2018 releases?

BOOK REVIEW: Carrie Fisher “The Princess Diarist”

9780399173592_p0_v8_s1200x630Title: The Princess Diarist

Author: Carrie Fisher

Genre: Autobiographical/Memoir

My Rating: 3/5 stars

 

In the wake of Carrie Fisher’s tragic death, I can only guess how many times this book was probably read by mourning fans so they could hear her true, humorous voice once again. Sure, you can always watch Star Wars to watch the young star in action and in her prime, but it’s not the same. Thankfully, Fisher left us this gift before she was taken from us too soon.

In this “sort of memoir”, Fisher recounts small details from her life before becoming an actress, her first gig, her time in school, and her audition/interview for the part of Princess Leia. Mostly, though, the star talks about her time filming the Star Wars movies and many behind-the-scenes tid-bits. It’s truly a treasure trove of information and fun facts for a fan of the series and for fans of Carrie Fisher.

I will admit that I’m not a lover of Star Wars, but I’ve seen many of the films nonetheless, and I am a fan of memoirs. I love to read about the lives of celebrities that I enjoy or famous individuals that I’m interested in, and I am definitely interested in Carrie Fisher. Daughter of Debbie Reynolds and actress to play the most popular female character to ever hit the screen, her life must have been full of many interesting things.

That being said, this book didn’t include much about her personal life as it did facts about the filming of Star Wars, as I mentioned before. Fisher highlights for a good portion of the book her affair for Harrison Ford, which I’m sure many fans were interested to see her open up about. She also includes many pages of her diaries that she kept during the filming of Star Wars, something I’m sure many fans would find touching and beautiful.

You may see that I keep mentioning “fans of Star Wars”, and unfortunately it’s true. I’m a part of the small population of America it seems that doesn’t love Star Wars, so it shouldn’t be a problem for most; but I do believe you must be a lover of the series in order to fully appreciate this book.

I would have loved to hear more about Fisher’s life, but I still enjoyed reading her voice and character in this book. My favorite part is when Carrie recalls the day that she officially got the part of Princess Leia:

It was raining. It didn’t rain in L.A. It was raining in L.A. and I was Princess Leia. I had never been Princess Leia before and now I would be her forever. I would never not be Princess Leia. I had no idea how profoundly true that was and how long forever was.

This really struck me and I found myself choking up upon reading this excerpt. Carrie Fisher had the privilege to play one of the most timeless characters in film, and she will always be known to us as Princess Leia. Her young, beautiful self is forever captured on tape and in our hearts, and her words here will always be available for us to read. How special that is.

 

In loving memory of the beautiful Carrie Fisher.