Quick Book Review: The Writer’s Cut

The Writer's CutThe Writer’s Cut by Eric Idle

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oh, Eric. I love you and will forever cherish you until the end of time. You’re one of my comedy Beatles.

This is the first novel of Idle’s I’ve experienced, and it’s fun, silly, madcap, naughty, and a very quick read. Television writer Stanley Hay is the main character, and he’s not too unlike the author. I honestly thought the beginning of the book was an introduction by Eric because it’s filled with his usual name dropping and descriptions of ladies’ body parts (go read his memoirs and tour diaries – he’s a hilarious celebrity-befriended dirty old man). But no, it’s Stanley, a dude who finds himself overpowered by the Tinseltown machine after promising to deliver a tell-all Hollywood expose, and getting so caught up in the hype, he doesn’t seem to find the time to actually write it.

I wanted to try this to see what Eric’s fiction is like, but now that I know, I’ll most likely stick to the autobiographical stuff. The Writer’s Cut is fun, but not something I’d ever go back to.

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Quick Book Review: Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Children of Virtue and Vengeance (Legacy of Orïsha, #2)Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Ah, the second book in a new series. What will happen? Will it live up to the hype of the first one? Will the characters become more evolved? It’s so exciting, and I feel bad for an author who feels the pressure to continue the magic (pun intended) of a beloved debut. That being said…….

Well, ummmmm, uh….. Children of Virtue And Vengeance is a bit of a letdown. Mostly because of the characters and their lack of progression. They all make dumb decisions at one point or another. Apart from poor Tzain, who just sort of hangs around. Don’t get me started on Amari. Zélie has the biggest challenges, now that she’s responsible for bringing the magic back to the land and gaining new powers in the process, but I only got the feeling she was up for it a few times (mainly when she’s teaching her fellow Reapers).

What I really enjoyed was the advancement of magic. That aspect really complicated the plot and kept me interested.

I will read future books in this series, but hopefully, they’ll have better arcs for the characters, and poor Zélie will be able to do stuff without experiencing pain. Boy, does Tomi know how to describe all kinds of pain.

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Quick Book Review: Oona Out Of Order

Oona Out of Order: A NovelOona Out of Order: A Novel by Margarita Montimore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Time heals all. But what if time itself is the disease?”

That’s the quandary for Oona Lockhart, the title character of Margarita Montimore’s second novel. She’s not the average time traveler; on her 19th birthday, she begins leaping from year to year, not knowing if she’ll wake up as her 50-year-old self or her 25-year-old self. Oona must learn to enjoy life to its fullest and accept the ups and downs. Easier said than done, of course, and it’s quite a ride going through the leaps with her. I wanted more! Especially after the ending. No spoilers here. I do think this novel would be great as a series, and I would totally watch a television version! Not to take away from the book, however. I love Margarita’s writing style, her love of pop culture, and the way she peppers aspects of herself in her main characters (you need to read Asleep From Day, her debut!). I suppose I should say that I’ve known Margarita as an online friend since 2001. We’ve sadly never met in person (yet!), but let’s just say I’ve been a fan of her as a human (and fellow fangirl), and it’s been such fun reading her books and watching her dreams come true.

The only thing that bothered me about the story itself is WHY AND HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO HER?! Part of my brain understands that this is supposed to be a fictional event and getting into the technical bits are not the point whatsoever, but being a pop culture nerd, the other part of my brain is dying to figure out if Oona is a Time Lord or if she is some sort of “chosen one” with the power to save the world (like Bill & Ted). Who knows, perhaps these questions will be answered in the future. Or past?

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Quick Book Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Oh boy, I was starving for a good fantasy escape, with amazing world-building, interesting characters, and most importantly, a solid story. Thankfully this delivered. Zélie is a badass heroine from the get-go. Her journey isn’t unique in this genre (think Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen), but the way the author incorporates themes from the Black Lives Matter movement and African mythology give it an emotional, weighty punch. She aids the fugitive princess who escapes evil King Saran, and thanks to a mysterious scroll, Zélie unlocks her magical powers. This leads to a mission to return magic to the world and restore her oppressed fellow diviners to the Maji they were born to be. Really good stuff. The novel ends on a cliffhanger too, so I shall be diving into the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, very very soon.

P.S. The inhabitants of Orïsha ride big cats. BIG CATS!!!!

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Jellicles Come To The Jellicle Ball

This isn’t going to be a long post, but something happened during this current quarantine we find ourselves in. I watched the Cats movie.

It was terrible! I mean, you’ve seen the clips, right?

Disturbing on a million levels. No one needs to see a handsome gentleman such as Idris Elba, naked apart from creepy CGI brown fur! I mean, if that’s your thing, more power to you, but it poisoned my retinas. The entire film did. Some musicals can be cinematic and it’s fine to adapt them with movie stars and on-location performances. A stage production about kitties, starring human beings, dressed up as kitties? NO.

Which brings me to the Andrew Lloyd Webber thing.

I saw a production of this when I was a kid. I don’t remember much about it, apart from cast members prancing down the aisles of the theater, doing their cat stuff before the first song. I thought that was cool. It’s such an 80’s thing, right? The legwarmers and Jane Fonda workout leotards that basically make up the feline costumes (just add furry material!). The coked-up crazy dance numbers! I’m sure I enjoyed the experience. I’d enjoy it now if I saw it as an adult, but I’d also think it was pretty dated and…. odd. Apart from Memory, most of the songs are just descriptions of these damn Jellicle Cats!

Jellicle Cats. Jellicle Cats. I think the whole reason for my fascination for this horrid film and bizarre musical stage production revolving around my favorite kind of pet is the source material! T.S. Eliot’s collection of poems, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The whimsical wordplay, zippy narration of all those kooky kitties, and the names themselves. They’re fun to say! Rumpleteazer, Skimbleshanks, and Growltiger, oh my!

I was today years old when I found out Edward Gorey illustrated a version of this anthology and I’m OBSESSED:

This concludes my random musings about the enchanting and unsettling world of Jellicle Cats. If you need me I’ll be stuck in the house, looking at Youtube tutorials on making top hats and tuxedos for felines.

Quick Book Review: Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion

Speak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about ReligionSpeak of the Devil: How The Satanic Temple is Changing the Way We Talk about Religion by Joseph P. Laycock

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After seeing the documentary Hail Satan? on Hulu a few months ago, I was intrigued by The Satanic Temple and joined up. A community that promotes activism? Cool. Exposes the Christian majority hypocrisy? Cool cool. Welcomes intelligent discussion? Nice. A sense of humor? Love it. Engages in philanthropy? Wonderful. I’ve never been a fan of organized religion, but TST sounded like what the idea of religion should be.

This is a very thoughtful piece that describes the history of TST, interviews current & former members, and gives insight on what religious freedom really is. Very interesting stuff!

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Quick Book Review: The Revolt of The Angels

Anatole France - The Revolt Of The AngelsAnatole France – The Revolt Of The Angels by Anatole France

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first book on the recommended reading list from The Satanic Temple, a religion I became a part of earlier this year. The title pretty much explains the plot, although the focus is Arcade, a guardian angel who begins devouring his human’s extensive library and realizes God needs to be overthrown. He joins a group of other revolters, but when they gather together and find Lucifer, he realizes the rational thing to do is NOT take the throne. He’d be just as bad as God.

I felt the pace was a little slow for my short attention span, especially since I was reading this before bed most of the time. However, I loved the premise and this was a good starting point into a world I can’t wait to learn more about.

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Book Review: Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

Lost Hills (Eve Ronin #1)Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have no recollection of how I found out about this book. Was it a free (or less expensive) deal on Amazon? Did I see a review while scrolling through Twitter? I honestly have no idea. I do know that I didn’t have any new books on my Kindle, and I needed one to help me snuggle down in bed and read in the dark. So here we are. I wasn’t familiar with Lee Goldberg before and didn’t realize this was a first in a new detective series. Cool beans! I love a good murder mystery/crime series, and this was nicely paced page-turning with interesting characters. Eve Ronin, the ambitious & determined newbie detective doesn’t let her YouTube fame deter her from getting the bad guy, and she knows how to deal with the sexist donut eating older chauvinistic veteran cops. She’ll make a great hero in future novels, I’m sure.

I definitely recommend this if you love crime novels. The author’s written tons of stuff for television along with plenty of other books, so go to town! I’m sure I’ll read more of his stuff in the future.

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Stuff I Like Today

Documentary Now!  One of the zillion television shows I’ve wanted to watch. I finally got started last week, since we saw Fred Armisen’s show the other night (more on that later). Documentaries rule. Parodies rule. A series consisting of documentary parodies = genius. Great cast & expertly executed, regardless if it’s Bill Hader & Armisen taking the main roles, or if it’s the current star studded lineup. Favorites currently are “Sandy Passage”, “Gentle and Soft”, “Final Transmission”, and “Batshit Valley”. Have some champagne filled coconuts:

Grant, by Ron Chernow From the guy who brought you the book that inspired the musical Hamilton! Yep, our favorite Pulitzer winning author is back with another biography, and this time it’s Civil War general/Don Henley look alike Ulysses S. Grant!  I’m not very far into the book, but so far it is a gripping tale of a very smart, awkward, prone to drinking man who is a surprisingly good military leader. Who also is really really bummed that he can’t be with his beloved lady Julia, because he keeps getting sent to far off places. And working with many fellows who’ll end up his enemies. I’m really enjoying this biography, because most knowledge I have of Grant was during the Civil War and told to me in Shelby Foote’s voice. I know close to nothing about his later days as a President.

John Mulaney This man is a comedy treasure. He hosted SNL last night, he’s been doing shows with sometimes-troubled Pete Davidson, appears on the aforementioned Documentary Now!, loves his wife and his dog, Petunia, and is a pleasure to have in the pop culture universe. Feast your eyes upon Bodega Bathroom:

I’m still on that Lady Gaga stanning. Nope, I can’t get over the fact that Gaga won an Oscar last weekend, and THAT SHALLOW PERFORMANCE. I watch it to remind me that I am a human being with stupid feelings.

Also, feel free to do your dishes or laundry, or get in your car and have fun with this playlist I made:

emotions