Monday, May 4, 2015

What I Read: April 2015

"Skin Cleanse" - Adina Grigore

I don't usually read much 'non-fiction', and when I do, I don't blog about it. But I decided to talk about this book because it was actually really good and super informative. If you've ever suffered (or currently suffer) from any kind of skin ailments, (be it rashes/eczema, or acne), then you really ought to give this book a read. The author, Adina Grigore, is also the creator of the all-natural and organic skin care line S.W. Basics. She sheds light on the not-often-talked-about ugly side of the cosmetics and personal care products industry, (i.e. the NON natural stuff we all use/have used all our lives), and makes you think twice about ever wanting to touch any of your favorite chemical-laden products again. However, the big point of this book is not so much to scare you or preach to you: it's to help you find a real and lasting solution to your skin woes. Adina suggests (and effectively walks you through) the process of a temporary "skin cleanse".. (kind of like those juice cleanses for your insides that you've heard about, except for your skin only!). And not only that, she shares tips and recipes for incorporating healthier foods into your diet and the best part: instructions for making your own natural products! There are recipes for everything from natural deodorants and lotions, to face masks of all kinds. Bonus: it's a quick read! I recommend it!

"The Name of the Blade" - Zoe Marriott
And now for the fiction! In April, I read this YA novel, "The Name of the Blade". It sounded so intriguing: the story of a young girl of Japanese descent named Mio, living in London, England, who inherits a magical sword (a Japanese katana) from her grandfather. It gives her super-strength and power to fight off the ancient monsters that the katana also unleashed.  HOWEVER... all her life, before she truly came to wield the sword, Mio had been plagued her whole life by nightmares of a dying boy. She didn't know that she would one day meet him, and that his existence is somehow tied to the sword itself. Sounds interesting, right? Well, here's the downer: Honestly, I wish I could say I enjoyed this book more than I actually did. After a while, I almost wanted to put it down and not pick it up again. Why? Here's a general gripe I have about (most) YA novels: Ok, well maybe not a GRIPE, but an annoying observation: do they really all have to have some kind of "love story" tied in??? I mean, would it really have been so hard to make this a novel about a young girl who wields a cool sword and saves the world, and that's it? Did we really have to give her a "doomed love interest"? Like almost every other YA novel out there? It wouldn't have even been that bad, if not for the fact that the author made it so annoying that literally every single time this girl laid eyes on the dude, she had to "get weak in the knees" or "forget everything around her" and be SO obsessed that it distracted her from everything else... I got it the first time. But it kept getting mentioned over and over again. It just seemed pointless.
The second thing about this book that bothered me was that it just had too much "action". I get that it's part of the story, but sometimes when I read books with big fight scenes or what-have-you, it just never translates correctly. I got the sense that Marriott was trying too hard to cram every single detail about every single action involved in magical sword fights, that it just didn't work. It became hard to picture the scene after a while. I just didn't enjoy it.
Overall, I probably would give this 2 out of 5 stars. It had potential, and the imagination is clearly there, but the writing/plot development wasn't the best. Sorry.
"Fan Phenomena: Supernatural" - Lynn Zubernis and Katherine Larsen
I guess this could also count as "non fiction".. but then again, not really, since it's about a fictional show! Yes. A book about the show Supernatural. It was an interesting read, honestly. It consists of essays written by fans of the show: from normal every day people to college professors who use the show in their classes!  There are also interviews done with some of the people who actually work behind-the-scenes on the show, as well as chapters written by some of the actors. Overall, I learned a bunch of tidbits that I never knew about, learned how to better analyze certain details and apply psychology to them, and how certain scenes are lighted/filmed. I do warn you, though, this book is for HARDCORE fans, only. If you are only a casual watcher of Supernatural, you probably wouldn't like this.  Like I said, it was interesting, but it could have talked about so many other things. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Stay tuned for May's reads!
In case you missed January, February, or March 2015:

What I Read: January 2015

What I Read: February 2015

What I Read: March 2015

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