The Deal (Off-Campus #1)

The Deal (Off-Campus #1)The Deal (Off-Campus, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Published by Elle Kennedy Inc. on January 1st 1970
Pages: 342
Goodreads
three-stars

She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy...
Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.
...and it's going to be oh so good
All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

So I was very surprised when I went to rate this book on Goodreads and a ton of the reviews had 5-star ratings. I enjoyed this book. I could even say I really enjoyed this book. But this book is trash. I read this book because I knew it would be a fast trashy read. I am not saying this to be mean, but this is not a book I would expect to win any awards. It’s young adults in college getting into romantic relationships and fucking a lot. And the fucking is good. Not going to lie. But to me this is like, new adult erotica. And I just cannot rate this 5-stars even if I loved it because I think of the other books I have rated 5-stars. I cannot hold The Deal in the same light as say, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (a book I did rate 5-stars). This is probably just me, but when I am rating books, I tend to compare them to other books I have given similar ratings and why I rated them that way. So for me, I could never rate a “trashy” book more than 3 stars. I may have in the past, but I cannot these days.

With all that said, I did truly enjoy this book. It was hot. And I have the second book checked out from the library right now. I picked up this book because I was in a reading slump and I needed to get out of it. I knew reading sometimes hot and fluffy would do that trick. And it did.

three-stars

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology

Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and ScientologyTroublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini, Rebecca Paley
Published by Ballantine Books on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 228
Goodreads
five-stars

The outspoken actress, talk show host, and reality television star offers up a no-holds-barred memoir, including an eye-opening insider account of her tumultuous and heart-wrenching thirty-year-plus association with the Church of Scientology.
Leah Remini has never been the type to hold her tongue. That willingness to speak her mind, stand her ground, and rattle the occasional cage has enabled this tough-talking girl from Brooklyn to forge an enduring and successful career in Hollywood. But being a troublemaker has come at a cost.
That was never more evident than in 2013, when Remini loudly and publicly broke with the Church of Scientology. Now, in this frank, funny, poignant memoir, the former King of Queens star opens up about that experience for the first time, revealing the in-depth details of her painful split with the church and its controversial practices.
Indoctrinated into the church as a child while living with her mother and sister in New York, Remini eventually moved to Los Angeles, where her dreams of becoming an actress and advancing Scientology’s causes grew increasingly intertwined. As an adult, she found the success she’d worked so hard for, and with it a prominent place in the hierarchy of celebrity Scientologists alongside people such as Tom Cruise, Scientology’s most high-profile adherent. Remini spent time directly with Cruise and was included among the guests at his 2006 wedding to Katie Holmes.
But when she began to raise questions about some of the church’s actions, she found herself a target. In the end, she was declared by the church to be a threat to their organization and therefore a “Suppressive Person,” and as a result, all of her fellow parishioners—including members of her own family—were told to disconnect from her. Forever.
Bold, brash, and bravely confessional, Troublemaker chronicles Leah Remini’s remarkable journey toward emotional and spiritual freedom, both for herself and for her family. This is a memoir designed to reveal the hard-won truths of a life lived honestly—from an author unafraid of the consequences.

I never watched King of Queens and I never thought much about Leah Remini one way or another. Then I binged watched 5 episodes of the Scientology and the Aftermath‎ mini-series on A&E. Every time there was a commercial break I would just stare at my mother (who was watching it with me), and say, “Oh. My God.” I didn’t know much about Scientology. I knew that some people had said it was cult-like and bad things happened. But mostly I just thought it was a weird religion where those in it thought that people were brought to earth by aliens. I often thought of it like the cult in the show Parks and Recreation, “The Reasonabilists.” Zorp the Surveyor is the 28-foot-tall lizard-god savior of the cult known as the Reasonabilists that took over Pawnee, Indiana in the 1970’s. Zorp was predicted to come down to Earth and end all human existence by melting off everyone’s faces with his “volcano mouth”. And now I wonder if they got their idea from Scientology.

After watching the entire A&E mini-series I have come to the conclusion that Scientology is a cult and not a religion. And I wanted to know more about Leah Remini’s personal experience having grown up in Scientology. The two things complement each other and if you watched the mini-series, you should read her book and if you have read her book, you should watch the mini-series. I applaud Leah for her courage and determination in bringing Scientology down.

This book was very interesting and there was never a moment where I was bored or wanted to skip parts. It is very engaging and very informative. I learned much more about why she is the way she is and why she is fighting so hard. I cannot imagine the hardships she and her family faced for this “church.” Even though you are reading her words about what happened, it is still hard to believe. I didn’t want to believe it. That these people are treated this way and that this cult could be considered a religion in any way is unbelievable.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think everyone should be informed and understand how and why something like this could happen. I hope Leah Remini keeps fighting and I hope Scientology is taken down within my lifetime. Obviously hopefully sooner rather than later.

five-stars

Favorite Polarizing Books

I loved this book. But I know that some people really didn’t like it because of the relationship between Avery and Atlas. Which makes me roll my eyes. Maybe it’s because I read Wasteland by Francesca Lia Block when I was younger that I understand the relationship more.

 

 

 

 

 

I do understand why people do not like this book. I get it. But I fell head over heels for Will. I loved his personality. And I also don’t think that this narrative is impossible. I get why people are pissed off by it, but I think everyone experiences things differently, especially tragedy. And again, I don’t find his story impossible.

 

 

 

 

 

It is the subject matter that makes people freak the fuck out when they look this book up. I had taken this book to work a few times to read during my lunch and recommended it to my coworker as well. And oh my god, when I would explain what the book was about to others, it was like I had sprouted two heads. Yes, it is taboo. Yes, it is difficult subject matter. But guess what, it happens in the real world.

 

 

 

 

I think a lot of poeple were going into this book expecting it to be like The Walking Dead. Not so much the zombie part, but the idea that these ladies were going to become badass and save themselves and the world. Whereas the book is a more realistic look at what would happen. It’s not action packed and the don’t suddenly acquire skills to survive. They do what they can and they use what the know. I think it’s very honest literary read about the end of humanity.

 

 

 

 

This book isn’t ground breaking. And I think people don’t like it because it’s not ground breaking. It’s mean girls meets the The Exorcist. I loved it. It’s freaky and fun.

 

Replica (Replica #1)

Replica (Replica #1)Replica (Replica, #1) by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 4th 2016
Pages: 520
Goodreads
four-stars

Lyra
From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.
But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.

I loved the idea behind this book. And the twists took me by surprise, which is always nice when you think you know where the story is going. I read the book in the order it was set up. So when I found the author photo at the end of Gemma, I considered that the end. So I read Lyra’s story first and then Gemma’s and I honestly now cannot imagine reading it any other way. The only reason I knocked this book down from a 5-star to a 4-star rating is because even though I know there is going to be a sequel, I feel like I was left with too many questions at the end. There is still so much I want to know. And I am hoping all the answers will be revealed in the next book. I was more drawn to Lyra rather than Gemma, but I thought they were both pretty strong and willful characters. My only other beef with the story was the insta-love which seems unnecessary and unrealistic, in both cases. I feel like the book would have been fine without it. The plot was fast-paced and had a great, “what the hell is going to happen next?!” feel. I was constantly trying to figure it out. Overall I think this book is pretty good futuristic, sci-fi, young adult novel with just that one trope I am not a huge fan of.

four-stars

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor, #1) by Katharine McGee
Published by HarperCollins on August 30th 2016
Pages: 448
Goodreads
four-stars

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU'VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.
A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?
WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you're this high up, there's nowhere to go but down....

So I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I read and saw a lot of mixed reviews on Goodreads and BookTube, but I loved the bitchiness and backstabbing and deep dark secrets this book offered. I am very excited for the next book and I hope a certain character (you know who), gets theirs. I loved the concept of this huge skyscraper like its own city filled with people. I also enjoyed the literal hierarchy within the tower based on money. And this is the first multi-perspective book that I have read that I did not skim/skip chapters of certain characters because I wasn’t invested in them. I was invested in all of the characters and I wanted to know what was going to happen with all of them. Of course, I had my favorites, but I loved all of them and I loved how their lives intertwined. I cannot wait to read the sequel and more from this author.

Spoilers and rant beyond this point (read at own risk)…

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four-stars

Year of Yes

Year of YesYear of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
Published by Simon & Schuster on November 10th 2015
Pages: 311
Goodreads
two-half-stars

In this poignant, hilarious, and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder reveals how saying YES changed her life—and how it can change yours too.
She's the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today: Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Her iconic characters—Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating—live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes, the mega talent who owns Thursday night television (#TGIT), is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she hugged walls at splashy parties and suffered panic attacks before media interviews so severe she remembered nothing afterward?
Before her Year of Yes, Shonda Rhimes was an expert at declining invitations others would leap to accept. With three children at home and three hit television shows on TV, it was easy to say that she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. Afraid of cocktail party faux pas like chucking a chicken bone across a room; petrified of live television appearances where Shonda Rhimes could trip and fall and bleed out right there in front of a live studio audience; terrified of the difficult conversations that came so easily to her characters on-screen. In the before, Shonda’s introvert life revolved around burying herself in work, snuggling her children, and comforting herself with food.
And then, on Thanksgiving 2013, Shonda’s sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything.
The comment sat like a grenade, until it detonated. Then Shonda, the youngest of six children from a supremely competitive family, knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.
This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood creating imaginary friends to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her (like Cristina Yang, whose ultimate goal wasn’t marriage, and Cyrus Beene, who is a Republican and gay). And it chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and giving the Dartmouth Commencement speech; when she learned to say yes to her health, yes to play and she stepped out of the shadows and into the sun; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.
This wildly candid and compulsively readable book reveals how the mega talented Shonda Rhimes, an unexpected introvert, achieved badassery worthy of a Shondaland character. And how you can, too.

I am going to be honest, I hovered between giving this book 2 or 3 stars and I am still not sure which rating to give it. 2 stars for Goodreads is “it was ok” or 3 stars “I liked it.” Did I like it? I think I did. For the most part. The problem I had with this book is that at times she was very preachy and she repeated certain themes and ideas to the point that I felt she was beating a dead horse. I get the overall message. The overall message to me is, “live life to the fullest,” “go big or go home,” and “you only live once.” All of the phrases that are used to get people to do something so they will live their lives and be happy. There were quite a few spots during the book where I was annoyed with how much she was repeating herself and I had a hard time reading the speeches that she gave at various events that she included in the book. Her overall message is good, even if at times I didn’t find it very relatable. I don’t know that I would really recommend it to anyone, other than if they are fans of hers.

two-half-stars