Review of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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I saw the movie version of this book and enjoyed it and I like both of the authors so I picked it up when I saw it on one of my trips to the thrift shop. I’m so happy that I did. The book is easily ten times better than the movie (in my opinion). While the movie focuses on (view spoiler)[ everyone driving around NYC looking for a drunk Caroline (hide spoiler)] the book actually focuses on Nick & Norah’s relationship, music and the adventure they have during one crazy night.
I loved learning more about the two main characters and why they were how they were. They were much more interesting and well developed in the book than in the movie. Norah definitely has trust issues and I really don’t blame her and Nick is coming off of a bad break up, but I feel like they’re a great couple anyway.
I love the descriptions of the music and the concerts in the book . I got so excited reading the scenes where they’re in the crowd watching the band and moshing and found myself smiling and reading faster. It made me miss going to shows. I like that some familiar songs (Green Day ones) are used as well as ones that are made up for the book.
If you like fun adventure stories full of punk music, New York City, love, and youth…read this book.

Huge Birthday Book Haul

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Hi everyone! I am really behind on posting. These are all of the books that I bought on or around my 30th birthday (11-12-16). They are from the thrift shop, Dollar Tree and a Harvest Bazaar that a local church was having. I found a ton of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books! Thanks to the great prices, all of these books only cost me $11.22 total. For 36 books! The books I got are:

  • Room 13 by Henry Garfield
  • The Scent of Shadows (The First Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson
  • The Taste of Night (The Second Sign of the Zodiac) by Vicki Pettersson
  • Sister by Rosamund Lupton
  • Blood Memories (Vampire Memories #1) by Barb Hendee
  • Hunting Memories (Vampire Memories #2) by Barb Hendee
  • Memories of Envy (Vampire Memories #3) by Barb Hendee
  • The Graces by Laure Eve
  • Trinkets by Kirsten Smith
  • Every Which Way But Dead (Rachel Morgan #3) by Kim Harrison
  • Cheerleaders: The First Evil by R.L. Stine
  • Cheerleaders: The Second Evil by R.L. Stine
  • Cheerleaders: The Third Evil by R.L. Stine
  • Cheerleaders: The New Evil (Cheerleaders #4) by R.L. Stine
  • The Thrill Club by R.L. Stine
  • Truth or Dare by R.L. Stine
  • The Dead Girlfriend by R.L. Stine
  • The Boyfriend by R.L. Stine
  • The Girlfriend by R.L. Stine
  • Party Summer by R.L. Stine
  • Silent Night by R.L. Stine
  • The Dead Lifeguard by R.L. Stine (Accidental repurchase. Oops!)
  • Betty Crocker’s Easy Meatless Dishes
  • Night Terrors edited by Lois Duncan
  • Strangest of All by Frank Edwards
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch #15 Harvest Moon by Mel Odom
  • Twilight #21 Evil on the Bayou by Richie Tankersly Cusick
  • More Ghost Stories
  • Railway Ghosts and Highway Horrors by Daniel Cohen
  • Pillsbury Fast and Healthy Magazine low-fat Italian!
  • Evernight by Claudia Gray
  • Tantalize by Cynthia Smith
  • Spin Magazine’s Underground USA
  • Stories of Ghosts, Witches and Demons edited by Freya Littledale
  • The Shadow and Other Strange Tales by Howard Goldsmith
  • Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Have you read any of these books? If you have, were they good? I’ve read Tantalize and most of the R.L. Stine ones before, but I wanted them for nostalgia’s sake. Now I just need to find time to read.

If anyone is interested, I also filmed a Youtube video of this haul.

Review of Without You: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and the Musical Rent by Anthony Rapp

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Without You is a very emotional book. It covers some of the happiest times in Anthony Rapp’s life (being in the musical Rent) and the saddest moments (watching his mother fight cancer). I felt bad for him because I can’t imagine how hard it is to watch anyone, let alone your mother, waste away.

I liked learning more about Anthony’s start in show business and I loved the parts about Rent. It’s one of my favorite musicals. You can tell how much he loves singing and performing. His joy radiates off the pages. It was great to learn more about the other people in the cast and the director too.

The parts about his mother and what it was like seeing her so sick were really sad. There are also some unresolved issues between them. He’s really hard on himself for expressing any kind of emotion and that often leads him to fits of rage or to snap at people. I’m happy that he found someone to talk to about that. It’s just not healthy for anyone.

Ultimately, the book is a celebration of his time in the play and of his Mom’s life. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of Anthony Rapp, Rent or biographies.

Go Big or Go Home: The Journey Toward the Dream by Scotty McCreery w/ Travis Thrasher

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According to Scotty McCreery, “Go Big or Go Home” is a travelogue, not an autobiography. He covers his life from childhood until now though.

He starts off talking about his childhood love for Elvis and how that influenced his music. He also talks about how the American Idol audition process really works. I thought they just sang in front of the judges, but apparently there are a few more steps that they don’t show on TV. It shows how determined he was. I liked learning how and why he chose the songs that he sang on the show.

Scotty comes across as a humble and down to Earth guy, despite the fact that he’s rich and famous now. He talks about his love of his home town of Garner, NC, sports (especially baseball) and music. It’s cool that he’s still such a fan of music even though he’s part of the industry now. You can tell he really appreciates all of the opportunities that he’s had. Another thing that I like is that he talks about the charity work that he does. He doesn’t brag about it, but he does promote some causes that are important to him. Maybe it’ll help them get some more donations.

Mixed in with the chapters are little blurbs from his fans, called “McCreerians,” from around the world. He has fans ranging from kids to grandmothers. My own Gramma was a fan of him, though she couldn’t remember his name and referred to him as the “cowboy kid” when we watched that season. While most of the book is positive, he talks about the time him and his buddies were robbed at gun point. He doesn’t really dwell on it, but he mentions how scared he was and how much more he appreciated life afterwards.

My favorite quote in the book is “We can’t ever get five minutes of our life back. We can remember them in the music, however. We can replay them and allow them to transport us in sound and lyrics. We can find comfort and joy in the melodies.” It perfectly sums up music’s ability to remind us of a time, place, moment or person.

I’d recommend this to anyone that’s a fan of Scotty. I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

With My Eyes Wide Open: Miracles and Mistakes on My Way Back to KoRn by Brian Welch

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KoRn is one of my favorite bands, so I had to request this when I saw it on NetGalley. I was excited when I got approved and I read this in two days. The book is about Brain “Head” Welch’s decision to leave KoRn, get clean and raise his daughter. Along the way, he became a Christian, made some music, wrote books, and went through some hard times.

Unfortunately, Brian made some horrible decisions and ended up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. He really got swindled by someone he thought was a friend. Instead, the guy was using him for his money and got him in all kinds of legal trouble. It got so bad that he eventually had to file for bankruptcy.

I could tell how much he loves his daughter, Jennea, but he didn’t always make the best decisions for her. When he was touring he decided it would better if she was enrolled in an online school. She felt alone a lot, got addicted to getting attention on the internet and started cutting herself. As a former cutter, I know how hard that can be to deal with and I can’t imagine how helpless he felt. He was able to get her help, in the form of a group home for teens, and there is a letter from her at the end of the book. I thought that was nice since the reader hears (reads) a lot about her.

I was happy for Brian once things started getting better for him and I love that he’s back with KoRn now. I was surprised that he said he’d forgotten how to play their bigger songs like “Falling Away From Me.” I figured that after playing them thousands of times he’d just go right back to it, even if it had been eight years. He talks about how the other band members were either sober or getting sober and how nice it is that Fieldy, their bass player, is also Christian.

The books mentions religion quite a bit, especially at the end. It didn’t really bother me that much until the end where it seemed overly preachy. If you’re Christian or religious, that might not bother you. Brian also mentions that him and Fieldy pray with fans after their shows and at music festivals. I guess that’s cool of them, but I wouldn’t want to do that if I were at a metal concert.

Overall, it’s a good book about a guy who’s trying to get his life back on track. I gave it 3.5/5 stars. The book will be released on May 17th and can be ordered here.

March Book Haul and a Neat Kindle Update

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Hi, everyone! I went to the thrift shop on Monday and got some new books. They are:

Down A Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

The Green Book by Rogers & Kostigen

Witch Child by Celia Rees

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia Greenlaw

The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods #4) by Melissa De La Cruz

I was excited to find such a nice copy of The Van Alen Legacy for only $0.90. Have you read any of these? If you have, what did you think?

In other news, my Kindle got updated with the new home page. It’s pretty neat!

Kindle Update

The main part on the left side shows what book I’m currently reading, or the first book in my library if I’m not reading anything, and it shows how far I’ve read in the right hand corner of the cover. On the right side, it shows my Goodreads “Want to Read” shelf and my Amazon Wishlist. Along the bottom, it shows books that my Goodreads friends have recently added. Under that, it shows a book that Amazon’s advertising.

They also added new butons at the top. There’s a button so you can put the Kindle in “airplane mode” during travel and buttons for Goodreads and Amazon. One of the things that I’ve really been enjoying is the recommendations section under the drop down menu. You can get recommendations from Amazon and Goodreads now. Has your Kindle gotten the new homepage? If it did, do you like it?

Review of Sounds Like Teen Spirit: Stolen Melodies, Ripped-Off Riffs, and the Secret History of Rock and Roll by Tim English

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This book was ok, but I thought it would be more interesting. I was surprised to learn about how blatant some people were about stealing other musicians’ songs.

Once the book got to the section about The Beatles, I started losing interest and it got repetitive. Of course John Lennon songs sound like John Lennon songs and Paul McCartney songs could sound like Beatles songs. If it interests you to know that Led Zeppelin ripped off a ton of people and then got ripped off by Black Sabbath, this book is for you. It wasn’t a good one for me.

2/5 stars.

I got this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.