Review of Venomous by Christopher Krovatin

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Venomous is another one of my Dollar Tree finds. This one is about a boy named Locke Vinetti who lives in New York with his mother and little brother. He suffers from intense anger issues that he refers to as “angries” at first and then renames his anger “The Venom” after the Spiderman villain. The book follows his struggle to live a normal life despite the fact that he feels like he has a creature living inside of him waiting to destroy his life.

His best friend, Randall, introduces him to his friends, their tarot club and a pretty goth girl named Renee. Things seem to finally be looking up for him but it doesn’t last long. The book deals with mental illness, drinking, medications, therapy, family issues, anger management, love, friendship and death. It also has lots of swearing and has some sex, so this isn’t for younger kids.

I like that each chapter starts off with a drawing that’s a page from a graphic novel with a bit of story and it’s supposed to be one that Locke is writing. Even though the book can be pretty dark at times, it ends with a hopeful scene. The other thing that I like about the book is that it doesn’t make the idea of taking pills (like Zoloft) or seeing a therapist a weakness. Even though the characters themselves might have some issues with it, their friends don’t.

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!

Review of Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt

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Rebels Like Us is about a girl named Agnes who moves from New York to Georgia for her senior year of high school and gets a huge dose a culture shock. I empathized with her character because moving from CT to MD was like that for me. I laughed out loud when Agnes’ teachers thought she was messing with her by not calling her “Ma’am.”
Honestly, not much happens in the first third of the book besides Agnes meeting and hanging out Doyle, going to school, arguing with her mom, dealing with Ansley (the head mean girl) and avoiding talking to her father, but the book moves along at a good pace and I still wanted to keep reading and I wanted to see what happened to the characters. I generally dislike “instalove”, but it worked for Agnes and Doyle. They’re a cute couple.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of racism at the new school, including segregated proms. I was annoyed at that. I don’t see how that would be allowed in 2017. Agnes, Doyle and their friends make an alternative prom, but it doesn’t sit well with people who want to keep their “traditions” alive, and someone puts a burning cross on Agnes’ lawn. I felt like after that there was a huge lead up to the alterna-prom with all the news coverage and everything, and then the prom itself was barely covered in the book. That was kind of a let down. It’s like Ok, then the prom that we all worked so hard for happened. Cool. There was so much money left over that there will be another one next year. Nice. I’m gonna graduate now.
I still enjoyed the book and was very happy to win it through the First Reads program, but I only gave it four stars because of that.

Review of “A Hard Day’s Night” by Mia Kerick

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A Hard Day’s Night is about a Beatles obsessed high school senior named Lennon who spends a “gay day” with his best friend Fin. They do all the stereotypical stuff that gay guys like based on a google search and hilarity ensues.  It’s a really quick read and the characters learn about who they really are in the process of doing these ridiculous (and expensive) things. I know it’s supposed to be a fun story, but I just kept thinking about how much money Lennon must have spent on everything and how ridiculous that was. It could’ve gone towards his college education. Some parts are sad and others are angsty. I don’t want to give much away. I liked the ending. I’ve read other books from this author and enjoyed them as well.

I got this for free from Reading Deals in exchange for an honest review and they hounded me relentlessly even before the review was due and even after I explained that I’d had a seizure and had to go through a month of tests and appointments.

Review of Marked in Ink a Tattoo Coloring Book by Megan Massacre

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Marked in Ink is a tattoo coloring book made by tattoo artist Megan Massacre. She used to be on NY Ink on the TLC channel and I’m a fan of her work, so I was quick to request this one when I saw it was available on Blogging For Books. There is one picture per page, so you can color them with a variety of coloring mediums. I enjoyed using markers, colored pencils, colored pens and gel pens. They’re not really made for crayons because the lines are too small.

Megan starts off the book with a nice introduction and there are 30 or so pictures to color. They are designed like pieces of flash art. Lots of them are sugar skulls with owls, fairies, mermaids, ships and other things mixed in, including the cover photo. I would recommend this to any fan of Megan’s or to fans of tattoo style in general.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books. All opinions are my own.

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.

Review of This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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I got to read an excerpt of this book in a sampler last year and I really wanted to read the rest of it. I’ve tried buying this book two times before and had things prevent it both times, so when I saw that Books-A-Million was having a buy two, get one free sale on Young Adult books where this was one of them, I jumped on it. I am so happy to finally own this.
I didn’t want to put this book down, but I fell asleep reading it and finished it the next morning. This book is amazing. The writing is amazing. The characters are amazing. Everything is amazing. I love how fast paced this book is, especially during it’s climax. I had to keep reading and found myself reading even faster than usual. I had to find out what happens to everyone! It feels a bit odd to be raving about a book about a school shooting, but it’s really good.
The book follows the four characters: Claire, Autumn, Sylv and Tomas. There are also Twitter posts from various minor characters about what’s happening. I think that helped move the story along and give more weight to it.
I really like that, while the shooting is the main focus of the book, we also learn about the characters lives, hopes and dreams. They felt like actual people instead of the typical stereotypes. They just wanted to live their lives and be loved.
I recommend this to anyone who wants to read a good book.