The Doctor’s Christmas Proposal Review

The Kindle edition on my iPad.

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Where do I even begin with this book?

I have a word for books, shows, or movies that are so bad, they’re beautiful in their own horrible way: a trashterpiece. This book, my friends, is the Christmas chick lit equivalent of a trashterpiece.

It was, from beginning to end, a complete mess.

The basic premise is Mia and Wyatt are best friends who’ve always had an attraction to each other, but they’ve been dating other people. Wyatt meets a woman named Loretta (who is allegedly a woman under 60 in 2016, the year the book was published) and quickly becomes engaged to her after she tells him she’s pregnant with his child.

But it turns out she lied to him! (I’d say take a shot every time Loretta’s described as a “stone-cold bitch,” but you’d have alcohol poisoning halfway through) She was pregnant with another man’s baby all along and played him for a fool!

So Wyatt goes to Mia for comfort and they make love. But that night, Mia became pregnant and the very day she was going to tell him, Wyatt tells her he’s moving to his family ranch in Montana.

Later on, Mia decides to fly to the ranch to tell him in person but she miscarries. Since then, she’s kept the baby news to herself, not thinking Wyatt would believe her and not wanting to trap him.

But around Christmas time, two of Wyatt’s brothers are getting married and having a baby and naturally he’s triggered. So he calls Mia and begs her to be by his side. He realizes he’s in love with her and wants to be with her.

The rest of the book is basically the story of how they end up together in the end. Except it’s not just that.

Story aside, the writing is very clunky and overall laugh-out-loud bad. It’s almost like the author just learned how to swear and simultaneously kept remembering she was allowed to swear in the book. There ends up being random swear words thrown in like chunks of salt, and it doesn’t work with the rest of the writing.

As well, the author seems to be cramming as many soap opera twists as humanly possible. Aside from the main story about Wyatt and Mia, there’s a murder-suicide, an alcoholic absent father, a prince, and a missing sister, among other things.

When you have a book that’s only 200 pages long, you don’t have that much time to tell your story. You can hit your emotional beats in a much more efficient way that doesn’t overpower the main plot line. As a result, when you try to cram in too many crazy twists, everything becomes more dull and you forget the main story.

The core love storyline may have worked, but it needs a major overhaul before it can be a truly satisfying read.

Here’s my final take–I may be linking to this book on Amazon, but I don’t think you should read it this holiday season.

October Kiss Book Review

The Kindle edition on my Kindle Fire.

NOTE: I’m part of the Amazon affiliate program, and the Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. You can click on the link and purchase the item listed to support this blog at no additional cost to you—I make a (very small) commission from any purchase made. Thanks!

I have to admit it—I’m a total sucker for Hallmark movies. No matter what time of year it is (and Hallmark truly has movies for every single season), they’re my favourite guilty pleasure. They give me permission to stop stressing about the world and real life and just relax.

So when Hallmark started adapting a few of their movies into novelizations, I was all in.

October Kiss is probably my favourite of Hallmark’s fall movies. Ashley Williams and Sam Jaeger make a delightful pair with excellent chemistry, and the storyline couldn’t be more adorable. I picked up the novel, hoping it would be more of the same.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, the book follows the movie pretty similarly, right down to the exact lines and some of the actors’ gestures. There were even a few added scenes and moments that enhanced the story and the main characters’ budding relationship.

But on the whole, I felt like the novelization lacked the charm of the original film. I’ve definitely read some great novelizations (Witness comes to mind), and I think the secret to a novelization’s success is being able to take the same story and have the book stand on its own feet.

The Witness novelization was a success for me because it took the storyline from the movie and enhanced it, giving it new life and giving fans more to enjoy from the story they already love. With the October Kiss novelization, it honestly felt like I was watching a lesser version of the movie. The book lacked its own charm—or any charm, really.

All that being said, I still enjoyed the time I spent reading it. I was just happy the book was only 158 pages and 10 chapters long.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Graphic Novel Review

The Kindle edition on my iPad

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I’ve been a huge fan of the Forces of Destiny line since its inception—I love the idea of young kids reading about the women who helped shape the Star Wars galaxy. To quote the theme song of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, “females are strong as hell.”

When I saw this graphic novel on Amazon for a good price, I knew I had to snatch it up.

The different stories to a great job of capturing the essences of the different characters while putting them through challenging (if somewhat watered-down) situations. I didn’t realize it was targeted for a younger audience when I bought it—the less-complex storylines were slightly disappointing for me.

I think I would have enjoyed the plot lines more if I knew going into the novel that it was targeted for younger audiences. As I read through the different stories, I was entertained but I also felt a little let down. I had expected something a little more adult that showed these nuanced women navigating their ambitions and duties while also dealing with their own personal lives. While I did get that to some extent, it wasn’t exactly what I was hoping it would be.

That being said, I still really enjoyed all the stories. I felt the characters were really in character, and I loved how the stories showed women being strong while also having vulnerabilities and insecurities. 

In other words, it showed women being real, layered people. And that’s a message I fully support young kids learning through these stories.

My Girls Book Review

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This was, without a doubt, one of the hardest books I’ve ever read. Not because of the writing or anything like that, but because of the content—particularly the last 30 pages.

I pre-ordered this book as soon as I heard it was being released. I’ve always liked Todd Fisher and he’s shown his true character in the months since Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds passed away. I knew he’d write a thorough, honest account of his life with “his girls.”

Yet the thing that surprised me the most about this book was how much Todd wrote about his own life. This isn’t a sleazy tell-all book about Debbie and Carrie. It’s a love letter to them—his life has revolved around his mother and sister since the day he was born. Make no mistake, this book is his life story—Carrie and Debbie were just a huge, massive part of his life.

This memoir is filled with 400 pages of memories, big and small. You really get a sense of who these two amazing women were—the good, the bad, and the ugly. He didn’t hold anything back, and always wrote from a place of love.

Much to my relief, the final 30 pages outlining Carrie’s and Debbie’s deaths were handled with respect and dignity. He was honest about what happened, but never gave any unnecessary, overly-private details. Even when he said that Billie Lourd, Carrie’s daughter, made the final decision, he wrote about her bravery and her love for her mother—the ability to make that impossible decision shows just how much she loves her mother.

Overall, I’m glad I read this book—truly. I may not read the last 30 pages again anytime soon—or ever—but during the hard times, I can take comfort from Todd’s beautiful memories of his girls.

Unnaturally Green Book Review

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I’ve been a huge fan of Wicked ever since I birthed my inner musical theatre lover when I was around 12 years old. I’d listen to the original Broadway cast recording on my old iPod to and from school, and I quickly memorized every note, every inflection, every lyric from the beautiful score.

In fact, I recently saw the touring production of Wicked when it came to Toronto in July. Mary Kate Morrissey, Ginna Claire Mason, and the rest of the company put on an incredible show—I got to appreciate the show in a whole new way, and my mother didn’t fall asleep in the middle of the show! (She fell asleep during Chicago. Twice. I know, how did I even come from her??)

With all this background, I knew how tough it was to perform the role of Elphaba at all, let alone eight shows a week. Yet I never really understood what it was like to put yourself through that kind of special hell.

That is, until I read Unnaturally Green by Felicia Ricci.

I was browsing the BroadwayWorld forums the other day and saw a poster mention that a former Elphaba standby wrote a memoir about her experiences. So I hopped onto Amazon, purchased the ebook, and began to read immediately.

The world of a standby has always intrigued me—do they just sit backstage all green and costumed every night just in case they’re called on mid-show? I mean, it does seem like a waste of green paint . . .

Felicia detailed her entire Wicked journey, from her first audition as an ensemble member/understudy to the San Francisco company’s closing performance several months later. She gave an inside look at how Wicked functions as a worldwide phenomenon, and how it operated at the company level. Ever wanted a backstage tour of a Wicked theatre? She gave you a hilarious one in this book.

But this memoir wasn’t just a fascinating look at the life of an Elphaba standby—it was a deeply personal look at the post-grad existence, something I know all too well.

Just like Felicia didn’t know what she was going to do post-grad (and post-Wicked), I had no idea what I was gonna do after school. I knew I didn’t want to be a beat reporter like so many of my friends were—I love journalism, but traditional reporting just wasn’t for me.

But now—also like Felicia—I’m carving out an amazing career while still doing a lot of what I learned in journalism school. It may not be traditional, but it works for me and I’m happy. And really, that’s all that matters.

Felicia’s memoir gives you an inside look in one of the biggest musical phenomena to hit Broadway, and it gives you a lot of life lessons along the way. Any theatre lover or post-grad will get something out of this.

Witness Novelization Review

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I absolutely adore Harrison Ford—he seems like a good person, and he’s a really underrated actor. Don’t get me wrong, he’s an awesome action star—but he’s an incredible dramatic actor, as you can see in his Oscar-nominate role in Witness.

A few months ago, I decided to buy all the novelizations from Harrison Ford’s movies that I could on ThriftBooks (if you haven’t heard of ThriftBooks, get thee to the website immediately!). When I saw there was a novelization for Witness, my heart went a-flutter. It’s one of my favourite movies—not just of his, but of all time.

And reader, I was not disappointed.

Witness is an absolutely beautiful film. If Peter Weir himself gave me the opportunity to change anything, I would turn him down. Everything about it is perfectly executed, and I could watch it again and again.

That being said, the book enhanced the film so much. You learn so much about John Book’s and Rachel Lapp’s backstories, which really explains their motivations and actions throughout the film. Also, the book has only further convinced me of my firm belief that Rachel should have left to be with John (don’t @ me).

The book was a compelling read—it’s become one of my favourite books and I can’t wait to read it again. It’s taken me a while to get through it, mainly because a bunch of library books I borrowed were automatically checked out to me at once. The next time I read it, I want to consume it without being interrupted by other books to get the full effect.

However, if you don’t like the movie or haven’t seen it, you won’t really like it as much. This book is really more of a “special features” edition of the movie—if you’re a fan, you’ll appreciate every last detail.

My Dad Wrote a Porno Review

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This is the second book I’ve finished in a two day period—something I’m pretty sure I’ve never done before. However, I should probably mention that the main reason I read this book so fast was because I had to sit in Chapters for hours post-tornado to charge my devices and briefly connect with the outside world. Also, I had literally nothing else to do.

Regardless, I have never laughed so hard while reading a book.

I’m a huge fan of the podcast version of “My Dad Wrote a Porno.” (If you haven’t listened to it yet, get thee to iTunes immediately!) I always listen to it whenever I’m commuting and I have a very hard (pun very much intended) time keeping my laughter to myself. Belinda Blumenthal’s world is simply unlike any other—I dare you to not bust up laughing while listening to the podcast or reading the book.

This book is a fully annotated version of Rocky Flintstone’s original masterpiece Belinda Blinked 1. It comes complete with liner notes that say what we’re all thinking, and it even has insights from Rocky Flintstone himself—I never knew how much I needed his insight on the art of writing “good” erotica).

Plus, it’s structured like a novel study guide—the podcast hosts/authors include hilarious context notes, talking points, and activity suggestions (“try having a conversation where your partner is not allowed to respond for 30 seconds”). Also, this book does the world a public service by including a diagram of the female reproductive system—there is absolutely no circumstance where someone’s penis needs to touch the cervix, let alone travel all the way around to the ovaries.

Overall, this was the funniest book I’ve ever read, and I highly suggest it for your next book of the month pick—and all the activities included after each chapter should be mandatory.

P.S. I Still Love You Review (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Book #2)

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I read this book in less than two days. I haven’t read a book that fast since I was 10 and had no responsibilities. Granted, my power was knocked out thanks to a killer tornado and I had literally nothing else to do—but I still call it an accomplishment.

I’ve been pretty pumped to read the second book in this series since I finished the first one not too long ago. I remember being so excited to read about a relatable female protagonist who happened to look like me—biracial teen coming of age stories are hard to find, y’all.

That being said, I was worried I’d be disappointed with the second book. Could lightening really strike twice?

Well, dear reader—in a word, yes.

When I read the first book, I was merely taken along for the ride. Jenny Han weaved so many twists and turns throughout the story—I felt like I was hanging out in Lara Jean’s head. I mean, I was, but still. It had been a long time since I was so removed from my own life and so involved with a book protagonist’s life.

With book two, I felt pretty much the exact same way. All I knew going in was that John Ambrose McClaren was going to show up and complicate things. And even then, the story was never about him.

The beautiful think about these books, and this one in particular, is that it’s never about a boy—whether that boy is Peter or John or Josh. It’s all about Lara Jean developing and growing up. In this book, the main conflict wasn’t really with John and Peter—it was about Lara Jean and Genevieve.

It’s so refreshing to read about a female lead who loves love and loves romance, yet the book’s main focus is almost entirely on herself as a person. And that’s something more girls should be reading in their YA fiction.

Bachelor Nation Book Review

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Full disclosure: I’ve never seen a single episode of The Bachelor or any of the other shows in the franchise. But I’ve always been fascinated by the show and how obsessed everyone is with it.

So when I saw Bachelor Nation was available to borrow from my local library, I knew I had to pick it up and give it a read. And much like the devoted “Bachelor Nation,” I tore through this book like I was running out of time.

*insert Hamilton reference here*

The book’s written by Amy Kaufman, a reporter for the Washington Post who recaps episodes of The Bachelor and the various spin offs. She inserts herself in the narrative of the story, but not in a way that’s self-serving or intrusive. Rather, she explores the world of The Bachelor through the lens of a fan learning about how the sausage is made.

It’s an incredibly fun read that goes through the show’s history and process, and as someone who had never watched the show, I couldn’t tear my eyes away.

The lengths the producers will go in order to get what they need for good TV are both horrifying and brilliant—Kaufman even includes a section comparing law enforcement interrogation techniques to what the producers do in their interviews (spoiler alert: they’re scarily similar). We all know reality TV is manufactured to some degree but based on what happens behind the scenes on The Bachelor, I feel like you might as well be watching regular scripted programming.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the book is the exploration of why we even watch the show—especially in 2018. Each chapter is spaced out with a little anecdote from celebrity fans about why they watch the show. To me, it seems like a combination of cynicism and romanticism—we love to hate watch the ridiculous antics on the show, but deep down we want to believe in true love. We just don’t think The Bachelor is the way it’s gonna happen.

Overall, this book is a frothy, interesting character study on America’s favourite reality show and the people who watch it. If you love the show—or even if you don’t—I highly suggest picking it up and giving it a read—the book is just as addicting as the show.

Star Wars #9 (Princess Without a Planet) Review

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I thought this review would just be an Instagram post, but it turns out I have a lot more to say than I thought I did.

Let’s start with the cover for Star Wars #9—I think both the cover artwork and the pull quote are a little misleading. I understand this is an issue that’s part of a larger series and I am reading it out of order, but I purchased the ebook under the assumption that the main focus of this issue would be Leia in Alderaan’s ruins.

This was not the case.

Leia was only in the first five or so pages of the story, and while her storyline was very interesting, there wasn’t nearly enough for my satisfaction. Leia, Han, Luke, and the rest of the characters were very much in-character for their storylines (thank you, Legends universe!), but the cover and pull quote weren’t reflective even of Leia’s storyline.

On another note, the artwork is incredibly well done but didn’t feel true to how the characters actually look, in my view. It felt too comic-book style for my liking—it felt too slick and stylish. It didn’t have the heart seen in other Star Wars graphic novels and comics. While the actions were in character, the art didn’t seem to match—I barely recognized the main characters.

All that being said, I still really enjoyed the overall storylines and I’d like to read the whole long-term story. But just reading this issue fell a little short for me.