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review 2018-02-17 02:33
A quick read about a Ride Share Driver
Uber Diva: Hot Tips for Drivers and Passengers of Uber and Lyft - Charles St. Anthony,Marcella Hammer

This is a combination of memoir of a Lyft/Uber driver, and a guide to starting/surviving/thriving as one in a tough market. A memoir/guide written by a humorist, it should be stressed, so there's plenty of humor infused throughout. That right there sounds like a winning book -- and <b>Uber Diva</b> almost was one.


Sadly, it came across as a pretty good first draft or a series of short blog posts. Every chapter -- almost every paragraph -- could've used just a little more. A little more detail, a little more context. A few chapters read like a thorough outline rather than actual prose -- just a series of bullet points along a theme. A little more expansion, a little more time spent with each idea and this would've been a whole lot of fun. As it is, <b>Uber Diva</b> is frequently worth a chuckle or wry smile to oneself, but it's never enough to satisfy.


I'm not crazy about St. Anthony's organization, either -- I'm not sure it ever made that much sense. Particularly, the jump from his opening to the rest just didn't work for me, it was a jarring tonal shift. The first chapter would've fit better as a closing or penultimate chapter, if you ask me.


There's a lot to like here, but it feels undercooked. It's enjoyable enough -- especially, I bet, for Lyft/Uber drivers -- but it could've been so much better. A little more revision, a little expansion and I bet I'd be talking about a good read, rather than one that's just good enough.


<i><b>Disclaimer:</b> I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.</i>

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/02/16/uber-diva-by-charles-st-anthony
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review 2017-12-17 07:57
Ask The Passengers by A.S. King
Ask the Passengers - A.S. King

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions...like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl. As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people she imagines flying over her at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.





Teenager Astrid Jones is in quite an emotional pickle right at this moment in her life. The family had to be all uprooted and relocated to small town New England because Astrid's mother is struggling with some sort of intense depression that affects her ability to work in a traditional workplace setting -- social anxiety? depression? agorophobia? a specific trauma that broke her? To be honest, the mother's situation is not explained in very much depth so I'm not entirely sure, but it's definitely put a strain on the family as a whole.


Then there's stoner dad constantly getting baked when nobody's looking but then acting like that's totally not what he's doing... only Astrid's mother seems to accept the act. 


Astrid herself is struggling in the normal "who am I and what are all these emotions all of a sudden?" teenage sense but between these two parents who can she turn to? She's muddling through a period of confused sexuality as she navigates her first relationship with a female co-worker but a solid, non-judgmental support system seems to be quite the unicorn in small-town, gossip-y UNITY (seriously, that's the name of the town here, of all things! lol), Pennsylvania. 


As a way to cope and to channel her inner pain and confusion into something good, she develops a two part system. Her days are spent studying philosophy (even creating a sort of imaginary friend out of Socrates, naming him "Frank" and imagining him next to her during her toughest moments), then spends evenings laying in the backyard waiting for planes to fly over her house. Once she spots one, she sends loving thoughts or questions up to the passengers, not expecting a response of course... but every so often she swears she can feel something bounce back. It's then that the story cuts to a passenger on one of these flights. The perspective switches from Astrid's first person voice to that of the passenger and we see the thin filament of thought that links them to Astrid.


When joining these stories, King uses just the lightest touch of magical realism. Their stories, whether it's through their inner thoughts or conversations with others, hint at the possibility that maybe Astrid's kind thoughts and questions are, in fact, somehow subconsciously reaching them and affecting their lives in the most subtle of ways, influencing their personal narratives. 


It seems impossible these days to be a Booktuber and not hear the name A.S. King come up at least once in awhile and I feel like this one got especially hyped when it first came out. Finally trying out King's work for myself, I did end up enjoying this story but at the same time was a little underwhelmed. The plot itself had a slow start for me but it did pick up as I progressed, but the writing was a little on the bland side. Or maybe it was the plot that was not edgy enough but something about this book felt like there was an opportunity to really take these themes somewhere big but in the end we just stay in the safe zone. 


That said, I did enjoy the characters (I just wasn't gut-wrenchingly invested in them) and I applaud King for the themes that were addressed here -- the concept of turning pain into thoughts of love for others, the ridiculousness of homophobia and the damage it causes when people have to keep the truth of their soul locked up to feel safe in this world, the pain of experiencing friends who will throw you under the bus, as the saying goes, to keep their own secrets safe from seeing the light of day. I even liked how the interludes of the passenger stories illustrate the idea that we're all maybe just a little more connected to each other than we realize. All super important topics to incorporate into a novel, I just wish they would've been delved into even more. 


* For those who wish to use this book as a book club pick, a reading discussion guide is included in the back of the book. 

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review 2016-11-18 00:00
Ask the Passengers
Ask the Passengers - A.S. King 3.5 stars

This is a story about a girl who is questioning and leaning toward being gay. She has a girlfriend, but she is figuring everything out, including her life in a new town and troubles with her parents. I feel like family relationships are just as big of a focus as anything else in this book. There's also a lot about high school, popularity, friendship and other teen issues. Astrid's narrative is broken occasionally by little bits from other's lives. It shows how everyone is struggling with something in their lives, not just teens. I liked this book and felt like it did have a message for me, but I also think a teen would get more from it than I did.
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text 2016-09-22 19:33
More details - the book my sister remembers

Related to my previous post...


Here's some more info on the book my sister has vague memories of that she thinks Passengers might be based off of:

"I think it's a relatively older one though. I believe I was in middle school and it wasn't new at that point either.*


The main character is a guy. He's the only one awake and the ship I'm pretty sure has a female voice that can talk.... Maybe. That memory could be incorrect

I do know that there was a robotic android bartender that the guy would talk to
And I'm pretty sure he was the ship's janitor or something who accidentally got woken up too soon."
So, even if Passengers isn't based on a book, is this thing that my sister remembers a real book? I'm pretty sure I've read more SFF than her, and I can't recall ever reading anything like that. But then again I have huge gaps in my older sci-fi reading.
* - Meaning it was published before the late 90s.
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text 2016-09-22 19:21
My sister's question - Passengers

My sister called me up as I was getting ready for work this morning. Her question: "Hey, have you seen the trailer for the movie Passengers? Is it based on a book? Because I had serious deja vu when I saw that the bartender was really a robot."


I've been doing some checking, and I've seen some mentions that Passengers is an original script and some mentions that it's based on a book. This article says it's based on a book of the same title, but it doesn't say who the author is. I had thought this would be easier to figure out than it's turning out to be.


Anybody know what book, if any, the movie is based on? Who's the author? The only other thing I can think of is that the script writer originally wrote it as a book and then re-wrote it as a script when it didn't sell, and that's why some sources keep saying it's based on a book, but you'd think someone would mention that if it were the case.

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