Book Review: Furiously Happy

Title: Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible ThingsFuriously Happy

Author: Jenny Lawson

Series: none

Edition: Hardcover, borrowed from a friend

Blurb: In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy—and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

Review: Oh my stars, you guys. Have you ever had that moment when the right things just collide? When there was something you needed to hear and, miraculously, the words were delivered right to your door? That was my experience with this book.

I was stuck in a rut, feeling very down about a lot of things (you can read about some of these feelings here – there was just a LOT going on in a relatively short period of time). Basically, I felt lost. Very lost. The problem with these feelings, which for me stem from my problems with anxiety and depression, is that it is very easy to feel like you are the only one. Everyone else is fine, aren’t they? Just look at them! They’re fine!

My stepson’s mom had heard some of this and sent this book to me. It sat on my desk for a while as I suffered through my reading slump and finally got shoved into my purse for a book to read during my lunch breaks at the new job. And boy, did I suddenly feel enlightened! If any of you have read Jenny Lawson’s posts over at The Bloggess (and if you haven’t, get thee over to that site, pronto!), you will know that she is a very . . . different . . . individual. I mean that in the best way possible. She is a very strange, very flawed, very unusual person, and is very unapologetic of that fact! The way she shares her battles with anxiety, depression, and all-around survival of the world we live in are hilarious and inspiring.

I laughed my way through this entire book and read the last two chapters with tears in my eyes. Not tears of laughter though. Tears of relief. Tears of “thank-the-gods-someone-understands.” This book is wonderful if you are dealing with these issues, or if someone you know is dealing with these issues, or heck, even if you just need a really good laugh. This book feels like catching up with an old friend over coffee – you know, that old friend who always has the great stories to tell from her life and can make any experience one that you will always remember. Jenny Lawson has become that friend for me and I will always be grateful for that.

GoodReads rating: 5 stars. Would give 10 if it let me.

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WWW Wednesday for July 11, 2018

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

Currently reading Blood Games by Chloe Neill, book 10 in the Chicagoland Vampires series. I swear I am going to finish this series, and after this, I will only have three books left!

Also technically still reading Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro, although I’ve come to a standstill with it. Not because it isn’t good, but because it is too much like real events. Right now, I need escapism. Once I finish the Chloe Neill books, I will go back to it in earnest.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished Wild Things by Chloe Neill. My answers will be fairly repetitive until this book series is finished, but hey, at least I’ll be able to cross something off my list!

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next three Chicagoland books are Dark Debt, Midnight Markedand Blade Bound. Once I finish those, then I will most likely start back over on Anger is a Gift so I can write up a review.

Leave your WWW in comments!

WWW Wednesday for July 4, 2018

 

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Today is another two-for on the blog today, just because I love these two particular features. They are fun and I always enjoy seeing what other people are posting.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

I am very excited by this book – Anger is a Gift by Mark Oshiro. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I enjoy the website Mark Reads. Well, after many years of reviewing books a chapter at a time, turns out Mark has written his own novel. And it’s REALLY GOOD! I’ve only made it half-way through so far – unfortunately it has been a victim of my reading slump – but I am getting back to it now.

Also reading Wild Things by Chloe Neill, the 9th book in the Chicagoland Vampires series. According to GoodReads, I had read this one before, but I don’t remember much about it. In any case, I am trying to finally finish this series this year, which would mean re-reading it anyway.

What did you recently finish reading?

Finished reading Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett last night. Another re-read, but so, so very good. And by coincidence, I was re-reading it in order to read along with Mark’s reviews over at Mark Reads. I think I read it with him the first time too, but I’ve been trying to catch up on all the books he’s reviewed, which has meant going back in time and revisiting some things.

What do you think you’ll read next?

The only one I know definitively I’ll be reading next is the next Chicagoland Vampires book, Blood GamesAccording to GoodReads (because I really can’t keep track of this stuff on my own), this is the last book of the series that I read last time, so anything after that is going to be brand new. There are 13 books, so I still have a handful to go before actually finishing the series, but I’m gonna do it! I might just binge those until I’m done – they are really fun to read, and then I’ll be able to cross off a series off my list.

That’s my answers for this week! Please leave yours in comments!

Teaser Tuesday: July 3, 2018

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Bringing back an old classing with Teaser Tuesday, a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you would like to play along!

  • Grab your current read.
  • Open to a random page.
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week comes from one of my favorite books – Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.

Anathema hadn’t really made herself at home in the cottage. Most of her implements were piled up on the table. It looked interesting. It looked, in fact, as though a voodoo priest had just had the run of a scientific equipment store.

~ page 133

Anathema Device is just one of the many, many zany and wonderful characters in this book. I love it so much. Who knew the Apocalypse could be so much fun? I wrote a full review here, which I wrote way back in 2012. So it’s been a while, and I am thoroughly enjoying reading through it again.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

Teaser Tuesday – January 16, 2018

Teaser-Tuesdays-Purple

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

“Tyene. Obara is too loud. Tyene is so sweet and gentle that no man will suspect her. Obara would make Oldtown our father’s funeral pyre, but I am not so greedy. Four lives will suffice for me. Lord Tywin’s golden twins, as payment for Elia’s children. The old lion, for Elia herself. And last of all the little king, for my father.”

~ Lady Nym, A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

I’ve moved on to the next GRRM book. I’ve read them all before, but they are just so good! Huge books, but they read surprisingly fast.

Please leave your teasers in comments!

Book Review: RoseBlood

Title: RoseBlood

Author: A.G. Howard

Series: none

Edition: Hardcover

Blurb: In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

Review: First off, this review is going to have a LOT of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

To start, a bit of a story. I first fell in love with the Phantom when I was eleven years old. I found the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical and spent hours upon hours listening to it. I had a crush on Michael Crawford. I wanted to BE Sarah Brightman.

I may have been a little obsessed.

As the years went on, I delved deeper into my Phantom obsession. I read the original novel by Gaston Laroux. I watched many movies and saw many Phantoms – Lon Chaney, Claude Raines, Charles Dance, Gerard Butler. I read fanfiction, both professionally written (Susan Kay’s book is genius) and amateur (FanFiction.net is a crazy, crazy place).

So I know this story quite well. I am almost protective of it, and very particular. I don’t like stories where the Phantom is scarred by outside means (acid, fire, etc.), for example – it has to be from birth, with his mother being terrified of him. He has to have some time in gypsy camps and spend a great deal of time in Persia. And, of course, he has to be a master architect, who has some involvement in the building of the Paris opera house.

Oh, and his name has to be Erik. Nothing else will do.

RoseBlood has most of these things, which is good. The fact that it doesn’t take place in the actual Opera Garnier was a disappointment – instead it takes place in another opera house that has been converted into a music school. The school is called RoseBlood, which to be completely honest, I didn’t like at all. It was too hokey for the name of a school. There were roses and there was blood, so they didn’t need to use it for the name of the school.

Also, just FYI, Thorn is not the Phantom. Thorn is Erik’s adopted son.

And it’s a modern story, not taking place in the actual original timeline. Is it the same Phantom? Why yes, yes it is. How does that work? Well . . .

The Phantom is a vampire.

Ugh . . .

This isn’t a new idea, especially since the Phantom likes to stay hidden (so clearly not in the sunlight). I just really don’t like this idea. I want the Phantom, who does do horrible things, to at least be somewhat sympathetic. In this story, he isn’t really. It’s not just that he was born disfigured and was hated – he is an actual monster. It cheapens the character, I think. Makes him less complex.

But the main problem I have with this is that none of the characters are particularly complex. Rune, our main character, is a bit blah, although she is also a vampire (these are psychic vampires, not the blood sucking kind). She doesn’t realize that she’s a vampire until she learns about it when she’s at RoseBlood. Her and Thorn are supposed to be the couple we cheer for, but they just don’t really do much for me. The other characters, mostly students and teachers at the school, are all very one dimensional and don’t leave a lasting impression.

I hate even saying all of this, because I absolutely love A.G. Howard. I’ve talked to her on Twitter a couple of times and she is a lovely person. Her Splintered series was amazing, the characters complex and unique, the world building beautiful and intricate. RoseBlood just doesn’t have this. I’m not sure what went wrong, and maybe I’m just too picky, but it really didn’t do it for me.

I’m not saying to not read it. It isn’t a terrible read, but I just didn’t care for it. GoodReads rating: 3 stars

WWW Wednesday – January 10, 2018

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Go!

What are you currently reading?

I just started Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Not much to say about it so far – I need to get more into it to have a firmer opinion. This book seemed to be everywhere when I first heard of it. I’ve also had friends who have read this series and loved it. So I had to pick it up. Also still reading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin as my bedtime book.

What did you recently finish reading?

Just finished Want by Cindy Pon. I have mixed feelings about it, to be honest. I need to figure out what I thought about it before I write a review.

What do you think you’ll read next?

My current plan is to read Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard next, since it’s the next book in the series and I don’t want to leave another series unfinished.

That’s it for this week! Leave your WWW in comments!