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review 2020-06-28 18:25
Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come
Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come - Jessica Hart

I identify as an introvert. I'm an introvert with an extroverted mother who seemed to think I had a flaw that needed to be fixed. Jessica Pan does NOT hold that view, and she makes this clear in the author's note at the opening of this book. I raise this for people who are offended that this book even exists. Listen, Pan is not betraying her people. She never stops being "one of us."

Jessica Pan, raised in Amarillo, Texas; the daughter of a Chinese father and a Jewish mother, graduate of Brown University (so she's lived in Providence, RI); lived in Beijing, Paris, Melbourne; married to an English man with whom she currently resides in London--faced the scenario of having no friends (other than her husband Sam) where she lived. Her close friends were scattered across various countries. She face the realization that she was lonely and depressed. Her goal in experimenting in a year of "extroverting" was to build a new friend group, with the kind of friends who would "help you hide the body."

In case you are shout-thinking that Pan just needs to read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking , rest assured that she has, and she even cites it. She notes frequently that introverts value and crave "deep talk," and she triumphs whenever her new strategies allow her to achieve this kind of talk with new people.

During her year of "extroverting," Pan does scary things like talking to strangers, taking improv class, sharing a story on The Moth, taking stand-up classes that lead her to doing a stand-up routine a few times, going on a solo "surprise me" adventure trip (that mysteriously leads her to Budapest), and hosting a dinner party.

Spoiler alert: by the end, she still identifies as an introvert, though she believes she may have shifted from "shy introvert" to "gregarious introvert." Most of her new friends also identify as introverts. If you are an introvert who is offended that this book even exists, please just give it a chance. You don't even have to tell anyone.

Side note: One of the "Questions about this book" posted last year (2019) was whether there was a book from an extrovert choosing to live as an introvert for a year. Pan replied, positing that such a book would be called Sorry I'm Early, I Needed to Get Out. Ironically, now that we are in a global pandemic (for people reading this in the future, I am writing this in June of 2020)--we might well end up with plenty of memoirs in the genre of "Extrovert Forced to Live Like an Introvert During Quarantine."

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review 2020-04-23 13:48
What Einstein Didn't Know
What Einstein Didn't Know: Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions - Robert L. Wolke

Scientific Answers to Everyday Questions

by Robert L. Wolke


What Einstein Didn't Know is not just a book filled with trivial facts about science and nature, but explanations for why things happen as they do. The fun starts right away in the table of contents where you can see the interesting selection of pieces of information that comprise this most fascinating book.


Examples include; chemicals that make water hot or cold and why, how dry ice works, what the term 'proof' means on an alcohol bottle and where the term came from, what is used to fortify cereals with iron in a non-toxic form, what makes the foam on your Starbucks coffee, the difference between incandescent and fluorescent lights as well as LEDs, how to read bulb packages and a nifty conversion for those who remember incandescent bulbs in watts (for example, an old 40 watt bulb is 500 lumens) and how to tell if a crab is male or female. And that's just the first chapter!


Further chapters cover information about how things work in the kitchen or around the house, the infernal combustion engine, the great outdoors, water, and the basic laws of nature. Do you know how infrared radiation works to allow thermo-imaging devices to make it possible for us to see in the dark? I do now, because I've read this book. Everything from ocean breezes to the reason for optimum hours to get sunburn is explained in easy and often amusing terms. There is even a section in the back to explain buzzwords, those scientific terms that build your vocabulary and comprise part of the language of science.

This is a book to read in segments, at least for me. Too much information at once can get lost in the assimilation, but the pieces of information are fascinating and would make great fodder for pub quizzes. This is one I am likely to go back to for references many times and to read through again to remind myself of all the fascinating facts that I might have forgotten after the first reading.


Highly recommended!

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review 2020-04-08 01:57
Infinity Son
Infinity Son - Adam Silvera

I came out of this book very confused. I read the whole thing today, but I couldn't explain the world of it. It threw out so many terms - Spell Walkers, celestials, specters, various types of magical creatures and items - and I couldn't tell you how they all fit together in the world. There was some huge devastating event called the Blackout that is vaguely referenced multiple times, but I have no idea exactly what it was. I kept expecting things to get fleshed out and explained, but it never happened. Some fantasy books go too far in giving the readers information by subjecting them to info dumps, but this one went the opposite route and threw me into the deep end and then just left me there.


It's hard to like a thing when I have no clue what's going on. Not impossible, but hard. You just have to give me other things to love to focus on instead. Infinity Son did not do that. It did give me a character to hate though. The main characters were Emil and Brighton, brothers who could not be more different. Brighton wanted to be famous and have powers so he could join in the fighting that was happening in their city. Emil hated violence and wanted the fighting to stop. Unfortunately for Emil, he suddenly developed a power that forced him into the fight. And Brighton latched right on, seeing this as his chance to get famous. I hated Brighton. He was the kind of person who acted recklessly, endangering others with his actions, threw tantrums when he didn't get his way, didn't learn from his mistakes, and never took responsibility for his actions. He wasn't a fun character to have as a POV and I was frustrated with how many times people gave into his tantrums.


Emil was better, but there were just too many characters in the book for most of them to get enough focus to be fleshed out. A lot of them blurred together and I was constantly trying to remember who was who on the team. I liked the concept for Emil that he has phoenix powers and the ideas of different types of phoenixes, but it just didn't get enough focus.


It's a shame. I thought for sure I'd like this one.

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review 2020-03-05 15:35
DNF: The Orphanage of the Gods
The Orphanage of Gods - Helena Coggan I received a copy from Netgalley. Another one for the DNF pile. This was also book of the month in one of my Illumicrate book boxes so I got a nice hardback signed with sprayed edges. Unfortunately I just didn't like the book. I got about 200 pages or so in, but I just have no interest in picking the book up to finish it. There was little to no world building - in the world the book are based on gods are living being who ruled the world but the regular humans rebelled and wiped them out and took over. All that seems to be left were the gods children who were rounded up and put in prison like orphanages, and treated terribly. The story starts with two teens escaping from one of these orphanages to find the girl of the duo's missing sister. The reader is just thrown in to the action and off it goes. There's a bit of flashback story telling to go into the history of how they got to where they were when the novel started, but I just didn't find myself caring or really connecting with any of the characters. Everything was kind of flat and to me felt unemotional and that made the story dull. Even when the escaping duo get involved with a group of rebels who oppose the way things are run. The point of view suddenly starts shifting and it's a whole different set of characters and histories introduced all of which are going to come together with the other plot. I just don't have any interest in finding out anymore. So calling it quits on this one. Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.
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review 2020-03-02 18:05
DNF: Renegades
Renegades - Marissa Meyer

I received a copy from Netgalley.


Calling it quits on this one. It's been several months since I last picked it up, I read a few pages and am just not interested. Superheroes are not my favourite thing, but it's an author I love and I have enjoyed superhero themed books before and this one is all original characters. So it sounded like something I would enjoy. Heroes vs villains and a POV from each, with the main POV seeming to be from the girl who's on the bad guys team. With a dangerous power and someone no one seems to know much about.


There's a little bit of world building but no real character introductions. There's a list various superheroes before the story starts - names, powers, aliases and what team they're on. So when the story starts going you're supposed to know who they all are.


Personally I never bother with character lists when they're at the front of books. I want to be  introduced to who the main people are as the plot progresses - not thrown in at the deep end. So having to go back to the list and flip through even after reading it thoroughly a few times, it was still really  confusing and annoying. 

I wasn't connecting with the characters and the thought of picking this one up again became less and less appealing especially with it being quite a long novel. So time to call it quits.


Thank you to Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for approving my request to view the title. 



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