I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual by Luvvie Ajayi

May 31, 2017
InToriLex, Book Review, Luvvie Ajayi, I'm Judging You: The Do Better Manual, Henry Holt & Company Inc
Published By: Henry Holt & Company Inc on November 17, 2016
Format Read: Paperback Edition (241 pages)
Genre: Self-Help/ Humor/ Non-fiction
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Boston Radical Intersectional Feminist Book Club Pick
Rating: THREE POINT FIVE  STARS
I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual
~Amazon~ 
Comedian, activist, and hugely popular culture blogger at AwesomelyLuvvie.com, Luvvie Ajayi, serves up necessary advice for the common senseless in this hilarious book of essays

With over 500,000 readers a month at her enormously popular blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com, Luvvie Ajayi has become a go-to source for smart takes on pop culture. I'm Judging You is her debut book of humorous essays that dissects our cultural obsessions and calls out bad behavior in our increasingly digital, connected lives—from the cultural importance of the newest Shonda Rhimes television drama to serious discussions of race and media representation to what to do about your fool cousin sharing casket pictures from Grandma's wake on Facebook. With a lighthearted, rapier wit and a unique perspective, I'm Judging You is the handbook the world needs, doling out the hard truths and a road map for bringing some "act right" into our lives, social media, and popular culture.

VERDICT:

 REVIEW:

I enjoyed the many topics covered in a relate able and humorous way, challenging me to do better, in this book. Luvvie spoke about hygiene, being late, bad relationships and race relations in a way that I never felt preachy, even though I was learning. Racism, feminism and sexual assault are hard topics to address, because of the many ways they intersect. Luvvie's use of a interpersonal interaction to get your attention on a topic, followed by speaking to institutional and systematic reasons why it happens was great. The made up words she used to give adjectives some extra ummph  was a unique quirk that read conversationally.
"The real scaffolding of racism are institutions that are so fully entwined with prejudice that to change them would require over-hauling entire systems, entire ways of life."
I was not familiar with Luvvie's blog, but did feel some of the chapters about social media would fit better on that platform.The author forces us to look at some hard truths and ways that we all participate in a culture that impacts some in harmful and oppressive ways. While reading this book I was made aware of the author  recently taking issue with social activists, asking for compensation at speaking events. Unfortunately this led me to judge Luvvie for her unwillingness to see why social activism, is exhausting and valuable. This article summarizes why it's hard to know when intellectuals are more interested in promoting themselves then the issues they write about.
"If the people who support you are being hurt every single day, and you turn your back because the pain has nothing to do with you, then you are taking their presence for granted."
While reading I laughed and agreed with many valid points about how to live a more fulfilled and honest life.  However some of the topics covered in these essays missed the mark for me, possibly because I wasn't more familiar with her writing. This book is in development with Shonda Rhimes to become a Comedy Series, so I will be on the lookout for that.  I would recommend this to readers who enjoy honest and funny social commentary that most people will be able identify with. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Luvvie Ajayi is a NYTimes best-selling author, pop culture critic, and professional troublemaker who thrives at the intersection of comedy, technology and activism. Her debut book "I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual" was published in Sep. 2016, becoming an instant best-seller.

She is the person who often says what you're thinking but dared not to because you have a filter and a job to protect. She is also a digital strategist, noted speaker and Executive Director of The Red Pump Project, a national HIV/AIDS organization.
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Website
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Lola by Melissa Scrivner Love

Loa, Crown Publishing Group, Melissa Scrivner Lover, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Crown Publishing Group on March 21, 2017
Format Read: ARC Paperback Edition (336 pages)
Genre: Adult/ Thriller/ Crime
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher Giveaway
Rating: TWO STARS
Lola
~Amazon~ 
The Crenshaw Six are a small but up-and-coming gang in South Central LA who have recently been drawn into an escalating war between rival drug cartels. To outsiders, the Crenshaw Six appear to be led by a man named Garcia . . . but what no one has figured out is that the gang's real leader (and secret weapon) is Garcia's girlfriend, a brilliant young woman named Lola.

Lola has mastered playing the role of submissive girlfriend, and in the man's world she inhabits she is consistently underestimated. But in truth she is much, much smarter--and in many ways tougher and more ruthless--than any of the men around her, and as the gang is increasingly sucked into a world of high-stakes betrayal and brutal violence, her skills and leadership become their only hope of survival.

An astonishing debut crime thriller about an unforgettable woman who combines the genius and ferocity of Lisbeth Salander with the ruthless ambition of Walter White. Lola marks the debut of a hugely exciting new thriller writer, and of a singular, magnificent character unlike anyone else in fiction.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

I don't like to review books I haven't completely read, but I could not continue reading this book past page 113. I never  bought into Lola being as smart, manipulative and capable as she was portrayed. I also thought some of the passages didn't mesh well together. Their would be along description about the environment mixed in with little dialogue between main characters, it didn't flow well. Lola was described as brilliant because she pays attention, but not brilliant enough to translate her skills to opening a business or getting money outside of the drug trade.
 "All people everywhere, rich or poor, skinny or fat, are animals. Looking for a fight. Looking to turn everyone else against the weakest."
The following were the  reasons I couldn't continue reading this book to completion.

-unable to suspend disbelief
-protagonist not likeable
-bad transitions
-not enough character development
-info dumps that led to no-where
-picks up rogue kid she identifies with but is ambivalent about actually helping her

It may have been that the author wasn't familiar enough or clear enough about the story she wanted to tell, but this urban violent fiction was not compelling or interesting. Save your self some time and skip this title.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 MELISSA SCRIVNER LOVE was born to a police officer father and a court stenographer mother. After earning a master's degree in English Literature from New York University, Melissa moved to Los Angeles, where she has lived for over a decade. During that time, she has written for several television shows, among them Life, CSI: Miami, and Person of Interest. She and her husband, a comedy writer and Los Angeles native, welcomed their daughter in 2014. Lola is her first novel. 
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Book Scoop May 20- May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017
Weekly Feature, Bok Scoop, Book News, InToriLex
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & Short Stories 
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

HEADLINES

How A Mystery Bookstore Revived the Genre

Anthony Weiner Loses Book Deal  

Summer Reading Recommendations
Borne
~Amazon~ 
"Am I a person?" Borne asked me.

"Yes, you are a person," I told him. "But like a person, you can be a weapon, too."

In Borne, a young woman named Rachel survives as a scavenger in a ruined city half destroyed by drought and conflict. The city is dangerous, littered with discarded experiments from the Company—a biotech firm now derelict—and punished by the unpredictable predations of a giant bear. Rachel ekes out an existence in the shelter of a run-down sanctuary she shares with her partner, Wick, who deals his own homegrown psychoactive biotech.

One day, Rachel finds Borne during a scavenging mission and takes him home. Borne as salvage is little more than a green lump—plant or animal?—but exudes a strange charisma. Borne reminds Rachel of the marine life from the island nation of her birth, now lost to rising seas. There is an attachment she resents: in this world any weakness can kill you. Yet, against her instincts—and definitely against Wick’s wishes—Rachel keeps Borne. She cannot help herself. Borne, learning to speak, learning about the world, is fun to be with, and in a world so broken that innocence is a precious thing. For Borne makes Rachel see beauty in the desolation around her. She begins to feel a protectiveness she can ill afford.

"He was born, but I had borne him."

But as Borne grows, he begins to threaten the balance of power in the city and to put the security of her sanctuary with Wick at risk. For the Company, it seems, may not be truly dead, and new enemies are creeping in. What Borne will lay bare to Rachel as he changes is how precarious her existence has been, and how dependent on subterfuge and secrets. In the aftermath, nothing may ever be the same.
New Book About Manson Murders Coming 2019

LINKS TO CLICK

Inspiring Reads for Recent Graduates
Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness
~Amazon~ 
Three months after George Saunders gave a graduation address at Syracuse University, a transcript of that speech was posted on the website of The New York Times, where its simple, uplifting message struck a deep chord. Within days, it had been shared more than one million times. Why? Because Saunders’s words tap into a desire in all of us to lead kinder, more fulfilling lives. Powerful, funny, and wise, Congratulations, by the way is an inspiring message from one of today’s most influential and original writers.

In Defense of Keeping A Journal  

A Literary Guide to Twin Peaks

FEATURED SHORT STORIES 

“The Great Disaster” by Alanna Schubach

“Wild Beating Hearts,” a story by Megan Cummins

"Wasted State" by Lena Valencia

Did I miss anything in the Book World this week?
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Waiting on Wednesday Issue #14: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2) by Jay Kristoff

May 24, 2017
InToriLex, Weekly Feature, Waiting on Wednesday, InToriLex, Thomas Dunne Books

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted at Breaking the SpineIt spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Godsgrave, The Nevernight Chronicle #2, Jay Kristoff, InToriLex
Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)
Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

OUT SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 
I really enjoyed Nevernight, the first book in this series. It included a talking shadow cat, footnotes and plenty of action. But there was some controversy about how Maori culture and people were represented. The author was called out on some misconceptions and he did not address the issues well. Despite that I'm going to continue on with the series. Authors behaving badly happens and I will continue to mention this caveat in my reviews, but I don't want to completely write him off.
What are You Anxiously Waiting On? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jay Kristoff is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of THE NEVERNIGHT CHRONICLE, THE ILLUMINAE FILES and THE LOTUS WAR. He is the winner of four Aurealis Awards, an ABIA, nominee for the David Gemmell Morningstar and Legend awards, named multiple times in the Kirkus and Amazon Best Teen Books list and published in over thirty countries, most of which he has never visited. He is as surprised about all of this as you are. He is 6’7 and has approximately 13030 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.
He does not believe in happy endings.
Website  Twitter

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Book Scoop May 12- May 20, 2017

May 20, 2017
Book Scoop, InToriLex
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & Short Stories

HEADLINES


Lovecraft Country
The critically acclaimed cult novelist makes visceral the terrors of life in Jim Crow America and its lingering effects in this brilliant and wondrous work of the imagination that melds historical fiction, pulp noir, and Lovecraftian horror and fantasy

Chicago, 1954. When his father Montrose goes missing, twenty-two year old Army veteran Atticus Turner embarks on a road trip to New England to find him, accompanied by his Uncle George—publisher of The Safe Negro Travel Guide—and his childhood friend Letitia. On their journey to the manor of Mr. Braithwhite—heir to the estate that owned Atticus’s great grandmother—they encounter both mundane terrors of white America and malevolent spirits that seem straight out of the weird tales George devours.

At the manor, Atticus discovers his father in chains, held prisoner by a secret cabal named the Order of the Ancient Dawn—led by Samuel Braithwhite and his son Caleb—which has gathered to orchestrate a ritual that shockingly centers on Atticus. And his one hope of salvation may be the seed of his—and the whole Turner clan’s—destruction.

A chimerical blend of magic, power, hope, and freedom that stretches across time, touching diverse members of one black family, Lovecraft Country is a devastating kaleidoscopic portrait of racism—the terrifying specter that continues to haunt us today.


LINKS TO CLICK



Best Short Story Collections to Read Now 
The World to Come
~Amazon~ 
These ten stories ring with voices belonging to--among others--English Arctic explorers in one of history's most nightmarish expeditions, a young contemporary American negotiating the shockingly underreported hazards of our crude-oil trains, eighteenth-century French balloonists inventing manned flight, and two mid-nineteenth-century housewives trying to forge a connection despite their isolation on the frontier of settlement. In each case the personal is the political as these characters face everything from the emotional pitfalls of everyday life to historic catastrophes on a global scale. In his fifth collection, Shepard makes each of these wildly various worlds his own, and never before has he delineated anything like them so powerfully.


FEATURED SHORT STORIES

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Waiting on Wednesday Issue #13: Warcross (WarCross #1) by Marie Lu

May 17, 2017
InToriLex, Waiting on Wednesday, Weekly Feature
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, Hosted at Breaking the SpineIt spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Warcross, Marie Lu, Waiting on Wednesday, InToriLex
Warcross (Warcross, #1)
~Amazon~
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.
OUT SEPTEMBER 12, 2017
I have only read the Legend Series by Marie Lu, but I enjoyed all of the action and intrigue that made the series good. I'm excited to read about a young female spy hacker and waiting to see how technology will help the story along. Marie Lu has always to included  diverse characters in her books and I'm sure this new series will feature more. 
 
What are You Anxiously Waiting On?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

I write young adult novels, and have a special love for dystopian books. Ironically, I was born in 1984. Before becoming a full-time writer, I was an Art Director at a video game company. Now I shuffle around at home and talk to myself a lot. :)

I graduated from the University of Southern California in '06 and currently live in LA, where I spend my time stuck on the freeways.

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Monday Musings: Black Non-Compliance 5/15/17

May 15, 2017

LIFE UPDATE

Yesterday was Mother's day and I was happy to spend it with my Grandmother, Mom and many aunts that helped raise me. Seeing family always brings some perspective and humbles me to keep trying my best in everything that I do. While I was able to tackle a fair amount of reading this weekend, I'm still not back to the reading pace that I like. After spending months just grappling with a government that is actively trying to erode civil rights, I'm still trying to balance civic engagement with everything else.

RESISTANCE BEGINS WITH YOU

I don't know when Congress, the Republican Leadership or Americans will reach their breaking point with this administration. But the firing of FBI Director James Comey followed by the President admitting that he fired him to stop the Russian Investigation aimed at his campaign should be the final straw. Country before party is how democracy works and I worry the more we allow Trump to go unchecked the further we get from deomocracy. Please continue to call your Senators and demand an independent special prosecutor to maintain the integrity of the Russian Investigation.

Black Non-Compliance Punishable by Death

Jordan Edwards is the latest victim of a scared white man with a gun reacting out of fear. The officer has been charged with murder but it is more surprising than assuring. Officer's who have killed in the past, have enjoyed administrative leave and the ability to return to work.

When the Supreme Court justified shooting someone running away, in Tennessee v. Garner, 471 U.S. 1 (under the Fourth Amendment, when a law enforcement officer is pursuing a fleeing suspect, he or she may not use deadly force to prevent escape unless "the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a significant threat of death or serious physical injury to the officer or others") this gave police officers the explanation they needed to justify shooting black men who don't comply. 

Unfortunately most of the United States see's a black male as a threat,  the Willie Horton effect continues to plague our society and overcrowd our prisons. The FBI reported this year that law enforcement has been infiltrated by white supremacists. Private prisons has made it profitable to criminalize and lock up brown and black bodies. Jordan Edwards was a fifteen year old victim of racism, and we shouldn't call it something more palatable. By continuing to rationalize the casualty's of racism, we ignore the human costs. There will be more victims and we must fight for racial equity, remembering that for most non-compliance to racism and authority will have far less grave consequences.

RACE IN THE BOOK WORLD



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Book Scoop May 5- May 12, 2017

May 12, 2017
Book Scoop, InTorLex, Weekly Feature, Book News
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & Short Stories 
 In these dark times, remember to watch what our President does not what he says!

HEADLINES





~Amazon~
Smart, warm, uplifting, the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open her heart.

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. That, combined with her unusual appearance (scarred cheek, tendency to wear the same clothes year in, year out), means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kind of friends who rescue each other from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

LINKS TO CLICK

We Love You, Charlie Freeman
~Amazon~ 
The Freeman family--Charles, Laurel, and their daughters, teenage Charlotte and nine-year-old Callie--have been invited to the Toneybee Institute to participate in a research experiment. They will live in an apartment on campus with Charlie, a young chimp abandoned by his mother. The Freemans were selected because they know sign language; they are supposed to teach it to Charlie and welcome him as a member of their family. But when Charlotte discovers the truth about the institute’s history of questionable studies, the secrets of the past invade the present in devious ways.

The power of this shattering novel resides in Greenidge’s undeniable storytelling talents. What appears to be a story of mothers and daughters, of sisterhood put to the test, of adolescent love and grown-up misconduct, and of history’s long reach, becomes a provocative and compelling exploration of America’s failure to find a language to talk about race.



Best Books to Truly Understand Mexico
Among Strange Victims
~Amazon~
Rodrigo likes his vacant lot, its resident chicken, and being left alone. But when passivity finds him accidentally married to Cecilia, he trades Mexico City for the sun-bleached desolation of his hometown and domestic life with Cecilia for the debauched company of a poet, a philosopher, and Micaela, whose allure includes the promise of time travel. Earthy, playful, and sly, Among Strange Victims is a psychedelic ode to the pleasures of not measuring up.

FEATURED SHORT STORIES

“Together” by Jess Arndt
  "Meanwhile" by Sasha Fletcher
“Miss Snowfall” by Sofia Samatar

 Did I miss anything in the book world this week?
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