Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mini-Reviews: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson; The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson; The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson
Rating: 4 stars
Goodreads Rating: 3.93 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "In LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, Jenny Lawson baffled readers with stories about growing up the daughter of a taxidermist. In her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY, Jenny explores her lifelong battle with mental illness. A hysterical, ridiculous book about crippling depression and anxiety? That sounds like a terrible idea. And terrible ideas are what Jenny does best.

According to Jenny: "Some people might think that being 'furiously happy' is just an excuse to be stupid and irresponsible and invite a herd of kangaroos over to your house without telling your husband first because you suspect he would say no since he's never particularly liked kangaroos. And that would be ridiculous because no one would invite a herd of kangaroos into their house. Two is the limit. I speak from personal experience. My husband says that none is the new limit. I say he should have been clearer about that before I rented all those kangaroos."

"Most of my favorite people are dangerously fucked-up but you'd never guess because we've learned to bare it so honestly that it becomes the new normal. Like John Hughes wrote in The Breakfast Club, 'We're all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it.' Except go back and cross out the word 'hiding.'"

Jenny's first book, LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED, was ostensibly about family, but deep down it was about celebrating your own weirdness. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is a book about mental illness, but under the surface it's about embracing joy in fantastic and outrageous ways-and who doesn't need a bit more of that?"

ReviewRaw, honest, brave, and so, so freaking funny. I love her dedication to live happily, smack in the face of her demons that are working so hard to crush her. Recommended* to anyone with a mental illness, and to anyone who knows someone with a mental illness. You will recognize so much of yourself/your loved ones in these pages. These stories will inspire you to live fearlessly, weirdly, and furiously, but most importantly, to just live.

(*Unless you are sensitive to language, in which case I'd definitely skip this one. I also give caution to those who, like me, have a bizarrely strong dislike for taxidermy. I liked it anyway, but all the dead animals made me majorly cringe.)

Review in a GIF

kangaroo scratching guitar hero funnys strumming

Bottom Line: I was so inspired by her commitment to be happy in spite of her mental illness (and maybe to spite her mental illness).  This book made me laugh and want to live more fully today.  To hell with mental illness.  That being said, I could have done without the taxidermy because gross.  And the level of crass was a bit much for my preference.

The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3 of 3) by Mary E. Pearson
Rating: 4.25 stars
Goodreads Rating: 4.25 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "Lia has survived Venda—but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.

With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier—as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross-purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down.

In this conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance."

ReviewI was happy with the way this series ended, but thought this book alone could have used a bit more of an individual arc. That being said, I was impressed with Lia's fortitude and resilience, and really came to like some of the minor characters too. The Komizar is really a fantastic villain, though this book in the series focuses more on some of the other minor villains.  The use of stories and traditions are really well done here.  And I loved the role of the "gift" in the story. I kind of wished I had read these books back to back because they build heavily on each other and don't you leave with with much breathing space. So the fact that I had forgotten a few things since I read the last book (a year ago) was problematic. But once I regained my footing I had a great time with this novel. It was a compelling story with a heroine you can really root for.

Review in a GIF:
Playboy Fragrances happy excited nice clapping

Bottom Line: A really solid series with intriguing characters and a unique world.  I'm jealous of all of you who can now read the whole series back to back without waiting. Recommended!

The Rose & The Dagger (The Wrath & The Dawn #2 of 2) by Renee Ahdieh
Rating: 2.75 stars
Goodreads Rating: 4.22 stars
Source: Library
Buy the Book: Amazon
Summary: "The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again."

Review: Can I just take a moment to say how much I dislike the duology trend?  Seriously, book world, duologies are not a thing.  It's either a stand-alone, or a series.  And two books does not a series make.  It's one story, ripped in half, and sold in two parts in order to make more money.  It's irritating and unnecessary and stop please.

ANYWAY.  This book wasn't actually its own book, with a hook, rising action, climax, and denoument.  It was a continuation of its predecessor.  It failed to shine as much as the first in every way.  But it still managed to sparkle a bit in places.  It didn't get to be compulsively readable until the last 20%, which I enjoyed immensely, but the first 80% was a struggle.  An unnecessary struggle, since I would have enjoyed it much more had I just come off reading The Wrath & The Dawn, instead of waiting a year to get to the second half.  This could have been so much better if it were condensed and sold together with the first half as one book.  Its predecessor was so promising.  Sigh.

Review in a GIF:
game of thrones hbo annoyed ugh eye roll

Bottom Line: A disappointing conclusion, mostly because this story was obviously (poorly) cut in half in order to make money.  Also because the first one was so good.  This one was okay, but okay doesn't cut it with this series. 


  1. I need to read Furiously Happy. I'm one of those lucky people who gets to read The Remenant Chronicles back to back. I'm excited to get started.

    1. That's definitely the best way to read that series! I'm kind of jealous. ☺ Enjoy! Furiously Happy was a filling book for me, but I always hesitate to recommend it to others since it's full of really strong and often crass language. But if you're okay with that then maybe it will be filling for you too.

  2. I love the kangaroo gif. It makes me smile and laugh. I'm not sure I'd like Furiously Happy. I think I'd have a hard time with. I have mixed emotions about taxidermists.

    And, I'm glad you liked the last Remnant Chronicles. I've been wanting to read them and I'm really excited about it!

    1. Oh I loved the Remnant Chronicles! I hope you like them too. Furiously Happy definitely isn't for everyone. I wouldn't blame you if you skipped.

  3. The cover of Furiously Happy cracks me up! Ha! I have a strong dislike, you could maybe even call it a fear, of taxidermy, so I probably won't read this one. Thanks for the heads up!

    1. That cover is pretty funny. :) Yeah, if you dislike taxidermy then I'd definitely skip it, but at least we can admire the cover, haha!


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