Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story

Reactions: 
It's Kind of a Funny StoryIt's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ned Vizzini's fictional YA account of a week in the local psych ward is one of those books that is aimed at the pleasure centers of my brain. 1. The main character, Craig Gilner, suffers from a mental illness (depression--especially the strong sense of inadequacy regardless of how much he achieves.) 2. Vizzini's style is brilliant and unique. He breaks certain "rules" that I normally can't stand, but dammit, when it comes to this book, I don't care. 3. Strong voice. 4. It ends when it's time to end. No prolonged emotional sappy stuff just to make it seem like you're reading something "really substantial." 5. Vizzini has a great sense of humor.

Also, the characters have staying power. For the first time in years, I have moments when I want to channel Jimmy and say "It'll come to ya!" instead of something more appropriate like, "How are you doing?" Oh, and another frequent flyer in the psych ward, Armelio, always answers the phone "Joe's Pub." I've been tempted to do that, but it's a fantasy best left to characters in a book.

Before any die-hard fans of Vizzini's book jump on me about this, yes, I know. Ned Vizzini said in an interview that the story is "85%" true. Take this however you like, but it's not a good book because of how true it is. It's a good book because the feelings are real.

View all my reviews

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Reactions: 
The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tear-jerkers are books I tend to avoid. I hear about upsetting things all day, and since I'm in a profession that demands the ability to do that without breaking down, I'm okay with it. However, give me a sad movie, a sappy commercial or a sad book, and I totally lose it. So, I've resisted picking up The Fault in Our Stars for quite a while because I didn't want to deal with puffy eyes in my leisure time knowing that's exactly what I'd be in for. Sometimes, books like Sweethearts sneak up on me, so I allow for that, but with this one, really, you know things aren't going to end well for at least one person.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Shameful Self-Promotion: Celebrity Faux Pas on Grammar, Etc.

Reactions: 
I doubt that it comes as a surprise to anyone that writers are the best Tweeters. We are so good at everything, after all.
Grammarly Celebrity Twitter Mistakes

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens

Reactions: 
A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids about Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You OutA Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids about Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out by Joani Geltman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It seems to be universally agreed that teenagers are not fun to parent. Joani Geltman doesn't exactly make it fun, but the way she has organized it should make parenting less stressful. She introduces each challenge in easy to recognize terms. She identifies the basic problem and she tells you how to solve it. How awesome is that? Before parents go out and start having parties in the streets, I have to warn you, that a lot of the advice contained in Geltman's book encourages you to step out of your level of awareness and consider the wild and crazy jungle of the teenage brain.

I commend Geltman for supporting parents in setting boundaries with teens when it comes to patience (or lack there of), entitlement, and consideration for others in general. For most people, these can be taught and when parents drop the ball, they leave the next generation of women with a bunch of failure to launch types. Everyone who has a teen needs one of these books for every room.

View all my reviews

Monday, April 7, 2014

Review of He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Dating in the Digital Era

Reactions: 
Review: He Texted: The Ultimate Guide to Dating in the Digital Era by Lisa Winning and Carrie Henderson McDermott 
What amazed me about He Texted is the reactions that I got from friends when I shared tidbits from the ARC via my Kindle. Okay, I know all digital galleys have that warning in the front about it being an uncorrected proof and you should check the final edition and sacrifice a goat before quoting anything, but what’s a few snippets between your 200 closest friends? I mean, it’s not as if everything is linked on the Internet or something. . . . Hmm, someone just told me that’s wrong. Oh well. No crying over spilled quotes. Moving along. So as I mentioned before, the reactions were surprising.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review: Beyond the Blues

Reactions: 
Beyond the Blues: A Workbook to Help Teens Overcome DepressionBeyond the Blues: A Workbook to Help Teens Overcome Depression by Lisa M. Schab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lisa M. Schab LCSW does an excellent job explaining the facts about depression and clearly outlining strategies that teens (or anybody) can use to process their feelings and disrupt the cycles that tend to perpetuate depression. She provides plenty of simple activities that most teens can incorporate into daily life as they go through treatment. These activities involve engaging creativity, emotion, and reaching out to others as well as modifying personal thought patterns. My only concern, hence withholding one star, is that I believe this book really should be viewed as a supplement to professional help rather than, "If it gets really bad, see a professional." For example, suicide risk is not even seriously discussed until well into the book. While I don't think it helps teens or parents to freak out every time someone shows signs of depression, suicide is always a risk. In fact, with any mental illness, it's a risk, and depression is one of the most common mental illnesses.

This book is a terrific resource and I will definitely recommend it to clients. I think it's a wonderful adjunct to in-person therapy, and includes plenty of terrific suggestions in a user-friendly format. I'm just not sure I would want a teen turned-loose relying only on this. All that said, if a teen suffering from depression gets a hold of this book, maybe it will be enough to push them to get help and make the best of it when they do.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cover Reveal & Giveaway for EXODUS 2022

Reactions: 
1600 Words a Day is participating in a blog tour for Kenneth G. Bennett's sci-fi/paranormal New Adult thriller. This means all kinds of fun stuff. Today: cover reveal. Soon: up to 25 lucky readers could win a free e-book version of EXODUS 2022.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Entertainment With Sniffles

Reactions: 

I don't know about everyone out there in the blogosphere, but I get mixed messages about colds. Nobody seems to have a clear idea of what causes them or how to cure them, but everyone has a strong opinion. Considering how, well, common the common cold is and how long people have been suffering from it, this could make one doubt the efficacy of modern medicine, but that's a topic for another day and a different blog. Maybe I'm just uninformed. Anyway, for whatever reason, almost everyone I know has a cold, is recovering from a cold, is relapsing, or thinks they might be coming down with one. Two things are certain here: colds are disgusting and make us feel like crap.