Hiding Out by Tina Alexis Allen

I honestly thought this would be better than it was. The book was mostly about the author’s college years, which she spent working at her father’s travel agency, going clubbing and going out for drinks (with potential lovers, friends and family, especially her dad).

There’s a deeper story about the weight of secrets and the damage they cause, but it’s buried under everything else. Allen talks about the inappropriate relationships she’s had through out her life, but sees nothing wrong with it. I honestly felt bad for her mother. The poor woman is treated horribly and the author mentions how heavy she is every time she’s in a sentence. It’s like she really wants you to know this woman was not skinny. At one point I felt like yelling “I get it! Your poor mom’s fat. Shut up!”

The book ends kind of abruptly with the last chapter jumping to 2005 when the author’s father has died. She mentions that she has a partner, worked in fashion and left that to act, and that’s it about her life now.

I won this book through a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads, but all opinions are my own.

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The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea by Chris Jericho

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This is Chris Jericho’s third book and it covers his career from 2007’s “Save Us” return to his surprise return at the 2013 Royal Rumble. He talks a lot about how his character changed during this period and how he had to find ways to reinvent himself. I enjoyed learning more about the wrestling business and how it works, especially the behind the scenes stuff (match books, ppvs, finishes, etc). I like that he pitches his own ideas and sticks to his guns. I remember his feuds with CM Punk and Dean Ambrose and enjoyed reading more about them. There are lots of funny stories about his travels with WWE in the book.
I also really enjoyed reading about Jericho’s music career with his band, Fozzy. It was really neat reading about the musicians he’s met and the opportunities that he’s gotten (playing the Download festival, hosting the Golden Gods awards). He also talks about the other shows that he was on (Dancing With the Stars, Downfall).
This book made me laugh out loud a lot, mostly while I was on a bus or sitting on a bench in the mall before work, which earned me an odd look or two. I’ll be getting his fourth book at some point.

I’d recommend it to other Jerichoholics, WWE fans, Fozzy fans and anyone else who likes a good book. I gave it 5 stars.

Slice Harvester: A Memoir in Pizza by Colin Atrophy Hagendorf

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I requested this from NetGalley because I was drawn in by the cover and the description sounded interesting. My thoughts were basically “This guy reviewed pizza slices? I love pizza!”

The author has a unique approach to reviewing the slices, which I enjoyed. Sometimes he just reviews what the ingredients are like, other times he compares it to a moment in his life or to music (That lead to a random spoiler for Anthony Keidis’ biography incase people, like myself, haven’t read it). Hagendorf mixes in stories about his life in between harvesting trips and we learn more about how he grew up, how he got into punk, etc.

Reading about his alcohol problem was kind of sad, but reading about his recovery was better. I was happy for him and I’m happy that he had someone that stuck by him. The book ended on a happy note and I enjoyed it. If I had known about the Slice Harvester blog when it was around, I would’ve followed it.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

2018

I’m a week late, but happy new year! I hope everyone has a great year. This year I set my Goodreads Reading Challenge for only 25 books because I missed my goal of 50 for the past two years. I failed pretty miserably last year (I only read 16/50), but I had lots of things get in the way.

What are you currently reading? I’m reading Freaks I’ve Met by Donald Jans (in print) and Overkill: The Untold Story of Motorhead by Joel McIver (on Kindle).

I hope everyone gets a lot of reading done and makes their goals. Good luck!

Crazy Is My Superpower: How I Triumphed by Breaking Bones, Breaking Hearts, and Breaking the Rules by A.J. Mendez Brooks

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I really enjoyed this book! I liked A.J. a lot when she was in WWE (where she competed as AJ Lee) and she came across as a great person outside of wrestling as well. The book talks about what her life was like before, during and after her career, but most of the focus is on her life with her family and how mental health and instability has effected her throughout her life.
She discusses growing up poor with parents who got evicted a lot, moved the family around constantly and didn’t really know how to care for their children. I felt bad for her and I’m happy that she made it through that.  The parts about her mother’s bipolar disorder (and eventually her own) were sad.
I loved learning about how A.J. got into wrestling and about her being on the NXT TV show. I had no idea that she had actually been around for a while before then. It was fun to get the inside scoop on the storylines from back then involving Kane, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk. Also, the way she talks about Punk makes me smile.
I think A.J. can be an inspiration to young girls because she overcame the odds (lots of them) and became successful. I would recommend this book to fans of AJ Lee, fans of pro wrestling and people who like to read about girls who kick butt.
Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books so I could give an honest review.

Review of Serendipity’s Footsteps by Suzanne Nelson

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I won this book through a First Reads giveaway on Goodreads. It’s has different interweaving narratives, but the main three focus on Dalya, Ray and Pinny and the role shoes have had in their lives. I like the writing style and the story flows well.

Dalya’s story was really sad and I don’t think I would’ve survived what she went through. I was happy that she lived and eventually found happiness, but getting there wasn’t easy. Ray is a loner with a rough past who just wants to escape her current situation and make music, but Pinny, another girl from the orphanage who has down syndrome, decides to tag along and messes up her plans. After a series of misadventures, the two girls finally arrive in New York.

I like the idea of using shoes to tie things together. I think that was really unique. I’m not really a fan of the ending though. I felt like everything was wrapped up a little too neatly. I have no problem, with happy endings, but it seemed a bit too convenient.

Review of Shut Up and Give Me the Mic by Dee Snider

I got Shut Up and Give Me the Mic because I like a few Twisted Sister songs and I like Dee Snider’s movie Strangeland. The fact that I found it at the Dollar Tree didn’t hurt. I wanted to learn more about how Twisted Sister got their start, which I did, but parts of the book were really boring. I had to make myself keep reading at some points. It’s refreshing to read about a rocker who didn’t do crack, didn’t drink a bottle of gin every night or sleep with every groupie available. That part was cool, but he had/has a huge ego (which he’ll mention repeatedly). It also ends sort of abruptly.

The book covers Dee’s career with local New York bands until he eventually ends up in Twisted Sister and everything took off from there. He met his wife, TS got a following and they got a record deal. Dee explains how things like royalties, making/promoting albums and tours really work and how much money the band actually gets, which is good information for anyone in a band. He also mentions all of the milestones he missed with his first son: most of his wife’s pregnancy, his son’s first steps, his first words, etc, because he was out on the road. You can tell how much he really loves his family and I liked that part.

After living the high life for so many years and then having the last Twisted Sister album and tour fail miserably and making some less than wise business decisions, Dee had to file for bankruptcy two different times. He lost just about everything except for his family and his wife’s hot pink jeep. Trying to pull himself back out of the hole was a humbling experience and it seemed to really open his eyes.  Then the book just ended! He mentions that to learn about what it was like for him to make Strangeland you’ll have to read his next book, but I don’t want to!