And We’re Off | GRWM + Book Review

I’ve been a bad reader for the last few years, and I’ve used the excuse that I am both a picky reader and constantly busy doing something as a means to sort of justify my lack of reading more often over that time. Fortunately, as of late I’ve been reading a bit more, and so I have another book review for you.

And We’re Off, by Dana Schwartz is the story of a teen artist who’s about to go on the trip of a lifetime, the catch is, her estranged mother is going to be tagging along. Along the way, Nora enjoys the sights of Europe, while vaguely getting along with/fighting with her mother most of the book. Meet’s a boy who’s basically a womanizer, but that’s okay, and then, in the end, she sees her work in her grandfather’s latest art show.

Let me preface my review by saying it’s not a bad book. It’s not really my thing. The beginning hooked me just enough to string me along to the end, which I actually really liked and honestly salvaged my feelings about the story overall but there wasn’t much to it. It’s worth noting that this is (I would guess Literary Fiction) which frankly for me is hit or miss, so take this review with a grain of salt on that front. Obviously, I finished it (which is a feat when I don’t really care for a book).

Would I recommend it? If you like literary fiction, or family drama sagas, sure.

I’m going to update my review to a: 3.5/5 stars. Not bad. Not great. Another book I have read this year. 🙂

Welcome Back Cissa

I never wanted to stop blogging.

I never imagined that such a time would ever even exist, but the Universe has a way of bringing us where we need to be and along the way, some things, unfortunately, fall by the wayside. In the early days of starting on YouTube, I worked diligently to try and keep up with my regular blogging routine. I had been doing it for ten years after all, and I had only just gotten into the routine of doing it again. I had already put essays on hold, in favor of these vlogs, and podcasts. I couldn’t possibly put my blogging on hold too.

But there was a problem with all of this, in all of my worry about what I didn’t want to put on hold, I had without my even realizing it put something very important to me on hold. My novels. How had I not even noticed it? I thought to myself. I was so consumed with all of the things I needed to do for my platform that I had forgotten the whole reason I was creating the platform in the first place.

On the one hand, writers have more opportunities than ever to showcase our work and gain exposure, more so than ever before in history. In other ways, screaming into the void that is the internet can take a lot of work before it actually pays off, and as with anything sometimes trade-offs become inevitable, and so—I made a decision. I put blogging on hold.

For about three months.

It was sort of an indefinite timeline, and eventually, the pull to blog again was strong and I realized that there was a solution to all of my problems. A way to double my exposure with platforms I had already spent a decade creating. I had close to a hundred WordPress followers (down from well over 400 back before the blog name change) which meant at least a 100 new people who could potentially see my channel, and potentially subscribe, and potentially grow the power of Cissa! *muahahaha*

So here’s to coming back to blogging. To scheduling things in advance, and growing my platform.

Carry On | A Book Review

It’s nearing one in the morning, not that I know that at the time, I’m deep in the heart of Carry On. By which I mean, it’s the climactic end and I know that I cannot possibly stop reading now. It’s somewhere around one fifteen by the time I finally finish the book and I feel a mixture of relief and sadness that I’ve completed this book in one night and there is now no more left to read.

I can’t even remember the last time I devoured a book so quickly—but there was just something about it that I couldn’t help but love… and crave more…

Carry On is the story of Simon Snow, “the worst chosen one who has ever been chosen.” Told from the view point of multiple different characters, in the last year of Simon’s school career, and his battle against the Insidious Humdrum. In between we learn that not all is as it seems, and that there is a fine line between love and hate when it comes to him and his roommate Basilton ‘Baz’ Pitch. (Who I kept reading as Bastilion). Reading like a slow-burn romantic fanfic Carry On is a Warholian revamp of the fantasy genre that I honestly could not get enough of. And it’s one of the first times I almost immediately thought, I want to read that again and again.

10 out of 10 would recommend. 5 demon glasses. It was so adorable, and just so addicting…

PS: I’ve found fanfic and it’s soo good. Yay.

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit – mid Review

day4A few weeks ago I promised that I would be going through my reading list based on an Instagram pic I took of my bookshelf all color coded. I promised to start with the first book in black Six of Crows, but for one reason or another I wasn’t feeling that book when I started reading it, so I decided to switch instead, to a random pick, one I had picked up (or rather my boyfriend picked up for me) for my birthday.

This actually is one of my favorite stories I’ve read in a minute (probably since If I Were Your Girl), it’s the story of a lesbian high school student, who’s Christian radio minister father moves her to a small town in Georgia because of his new wife. As with If I Were Your Girl, it seems like for the most part everyone is pretty on board with her, her father is super cool about it, his new wife is super cool about it, and she’s fallen in love with a girl at her new school after promising her father she would lay low in exchange for her own radio show.

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I’m a little more than mid-way through the book at this point (290 of 419) and I absolutely love it, it’s got a great friendship, and an amazing storyline thus far and I can’t wait to finish it.

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I’m giving it 5/5 glasses for just being great, and building the gay tension like the best sort of fan fiction. I’ll update this post once I’ve finished reading it.

The Woman in Cabin 10: A Review

 I’m not what you would call an avid thriller reader, so my opinions on this novel probably aren’t on par with those who read the genre regularly. I also wouldn’t call this a great read, it’s fun and a little bizarre, but it was a breezy read that I actually enjoyed. I’ve been trying since Cursed Child to read more (which, let’s not even discuss that little gem). I even joined the Book of the Month Club to grow my reading collection, and so far it’s been… admittedly slower than I’d like. The truth is you have to make time to read and I just haven’t been doing it. That said, I did manage to read a book about a month or so ago, that I was meaning to write up a review for the old blog, but I figured now was as good a time as any. 

 

Read More… 

Reading Franzen: Part I

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Where do I begin with Jonathan Franzen? From not wanting to be on Oprah’s Book Club, to his rants about the internet and ‘serious literature’, I’ve made my thoughts on him abundantly clear over the years. But between his many literary awards, one has to wonder if there isn’t something to his writing, even if he is exhausting as a person. Writers aren’t often known for their fuzzy demeanors, and I wonder perhaps if this is not part of the problem here. In an effort to afford Mr. Franzen the benefit of this doubt, I’ve decided to read the Corrections. Arguably one of his most well known novels, published in 2001 the Corrections follows a family drama of an aging wife and mother as she attempts to bring her three children together for Christmas as their father suffers advancing Alzheimer’s disease.

Because it’s not really broken up in to chapters I’m going to be writing my thoughts and reviews of the parts with actual titles to them.

Part I St. Jude

Summary: 

Here we meet our main characters of Enid and Alfred Lambert (who vaguely remind me of Edith and Archie Bunker of All in the Family). Much is said of their home life, Enid’s obsession with finding a letter that she’s mostly keeping secret from her husband, his oppressive demeanor towards her, and by the end it starts to become clear that he is at least in the beginning stages of his disease, though it seems this is something he’s currently hiding from his wife.

Thoughts: 

While arguably the shortest part in the entire book, it’s clear only few pages in that Franzen likes to wax poetic about his characters, for someone who believes so heavily in the importance of ‘serious literature’ I find it curious that thus far it feels already as though he’s telling the reader more about the characters than he’s necessarily showing.

It seems curious the way in which the author attempts to make the most mundane things seem interesting, but perhaps since anything a reader might actually find interesting is thus far absent it would seem that the only thing one can really do is make an allusion that paying a bill is somehow like guerrilla warfare.

It’s quite clear that this woman the main character of Enid Lambert is in an abusive relationship, the authors insistent use of the oppressive government while an odd choice makes that abundantly clear. I would venture to guess that the author will find a way to make this pathos seem acceptable or even admirable, which I find problematic.

One thing I’ve noticed (beyond long-windedness and a tendency to wax poetic about everything is that it feels to me that Franzen’s metaphors are all over the place. He compares the marriage to a tyrannical government, then in explaining the house and the dust uses fantasy metaphors of magic and potion type bottles. Perhaps it is my newness to the literary genre, but I would imagine there would be a way to continue working in the war-torn tyrannical government metaphors into the explanation of the basement. In fact I imagine it would have worked better.