Guts by Raina Telgemeier [Book Review]

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I borrowed a paperback copy from the kids I babysit. The decision to review and all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Guts by Raina Telgemeier | RachelPoli.com

Title: Guts
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Novel, Memoir, Middle Grade

Series: Smile, #3
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 17, 2019

Plot

Guts is about a middle-schooler who ends up with stomach issues. She doesn’t know why and it begins to take a toll on her physically and mentally. Not to mention she’s dealing with everyday middle-school drama: mean girls at school, best friend drama, homework, no privacy at home, etc.

I didn’t realize how relatable this book would be until I started reading it. Raina, the protagonist, has anxiety over food and others getting sick. As someone who has anxiety (and gets it worse about germs due to COVID) this book was exactly what I needed to read.

The overall plot was well done showing us how and when Rain began to have her troubles and carries us through as she overcomes them. It captures the teenage girl in a realistic light among life, school, fears, and growing up in general.

Characters

The characters were the best part, I think. Raina is the protagonist but she’s also the author as Guts is a memoir as well. Where were these books when I was growing up? I don’t know.

But the characters are well-done in the sense that you can relate to their middle-school issues. I also related to Raina’s parents as they did their best to be supportive and help Raina through her troubling times.

Writing Style

Being a graphic novel, this story is told through dialogue, minimal description, and lots of pretty pictures. The author’s art style is cool and makes it easier for young kids to read and comprehend. The overall topic of the story isn’t too heavy, despite it being about mental health. But mental health is something we need to normalize and this book captures it perfectly, showing kids they’re not alone when they feel this way.

Guts by Raina Telgemeier

Conclusion

Plot
Characters
Writing Style

Overall

Guts by Raina Telgemeier is a quick read and a book everyone should read at some point. It’s certainly an eye-opener for young kids that’s informative and entertaining at the same time.

5

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LOVE The Beat Goes On By Lynda Filler [Book Review]

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I received a free ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review: LOVE The Beat Goes On By Lynda Filler

LOVE The Beat Goes On by Lynda Filler | Book Review | Memoir | Nonfiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Title: LOVE The Beat Goes On
Author: Lynda Filler
Genre: Non-Fiction, Memoir

Series: Standalone
Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing
Publication Date: April 6, 2017

Summary – LOVE The Beat Goes On

When your cardiologist tells you to “Get your affairs in order, your heart condition is incurable,” what do you do? In 2008 that’s exactly what happened to Lynda Filler. 

Lynda shares her journey in the typical fast-paced, edgy, in-your-face style she’s known for in her novels. She’s hard-hitting and tells you exactly how it is. She writes about romantic experiences that may shock you but makes no apologies for her unconventional lifestyle. Nor does she hold back taking responsibility for the things that she believes created her dis-ease.

First Thoughts

I enjoy a good memoir and love reading other people’s stories. So, when the author approached me about this book, I was more than happy to give it a shot.

Book Cover

I really enjoy the cover. It’s simple, but the colors really stands out and the heartbeat in the background tells a lot.

Plot

Lynda, the author, tells her story about when she was diagnosed with a heart disease that was supposedly incurable. She goes through all the steps of denial and acceptance, doing the right things and doing the wrong things, keeping it to yourself and talking to someone about it.

Since this is a memoir, it’s hard to discuss the “plot” of what happens. The majority, if not all, of what occurs in this book, so I can’t say whether it “worked” for me or not. The message came across nicely. I sympathized with the protagonist and her story was interesting to read.

Writing Style

This book was a quick read and it was easy to read as well. The narration was as though the author is sitting in a coffee shop with her readers. It was personable. However, there were some parts of the book that I felt like the author forgot it is, in fact, a book.

LOVE The Beat Goes On By Lynda Filler

Rating

Plot
Writing Style

Overall

This was an insightful memoir. I enjoyed reading the author’s story. There were a lot of medical terms that were explained well without info-dumping. It was a good read overall.

4

Favorite Quote

“We all have our own stories.”

Lynda Filler, LOVE The Beat Goes On

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Book Review: LOVE The Beat Goes On by Lynda Filler | Memoir | Nonfiction | Book Blogger | RachelPoli.com

Battle Scars By Jordan Corley [Book Review]

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Book Review: Battle Scars by Jordan Corley | Poetry | Memoir | Book Blogger | Book Reviewer | RachelPoli.com

I received an eARC from the author.

Summary:

battle scars is a tribute to the pain and suffering that happens beneath the surface of a smile. A smile we so cautiously adorn to mask the truth, but sometimes life just isn’t going the way you want it to, sometimes life is hard. This collection of poetry explores life through Jordan’s eyes, with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be able to relate to the meaning of her words and find solace in the comfort of knowing that they are not alone.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.comThe cover is simple enough. It’s dark, rightfully so given the poetry inside. The triangles feel as though they’re out of place, but I like that symbolism.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.comPoetry isn’t something I read too often, but I do enjoy it. When I author asked if I was interested in giving this a read, I was more than happy to.

Plot | RachelPoli.comAs the summary says, this book is a collection of poetry through the author’s eyes as she goes through some tough times in life. The messages were well done and received. I think there are many people out there who can relate to the author’s words.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This book is as described – a collection of poetry. Each poem is written well with deep thoughts. I didn’t resonate with all of them though there were some words that stuck out in my mind. Some of the poems were bland. One poem repeated “sorry” over and over again which seemed to drag on for me. However, most of the poems are beautifully crafted and worded well.

Overall | RachelPoli.comBeing poetry, this is a quick read and worth the time if you’re interested in memoirs and poetry.

Battle Scars by Jordan Corley gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“i do not want to run anymore / i want to stop / and feel the breeze / breathe in the scents of / grass and dirt / and just be / in the moment / for / a / second.” -Jordan Corley, Battle Scars

Buy the book:

Amazon

About Jordan Corley:

Jordan Corley | Author | Poet | Battle Scars | Book Review | RachelPoli.comJordan released her debut poetry collection, battle scars, at age 19 after maintaining a WordPress poetry blog for a year. She currently attends Penn State University where she is attempting a degree in Biomedical and Mechanical engineering and writes for their school newspaper. Her biggest writing accomplishment would undeniably have to be her piece on Jesse McCartney because it has (hopefully) set her one step closer to meeting Justin Bieber.

Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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I Am A Failure By Akhil Sharma [Book Review]

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Book Review: I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma | Memior | Autobiography | Nonfiction | RachelPoli.com

I received a free digital copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Summary:

Have you experienced failures in your life? Is your startup business facing a downturn? Is your dream partner telling you she hates you? Don’t despair. Failure encages us all.

Akhil, born with a plastic spoon in India, was specially designed for all failures life can bring. Growing up like everyone, the more he tried for success, the more he failed. Not until when he redefined his stupidity and started listening to his heart, his failures brought forth his keys to freedom and made him discover that ‘Failure encourages us all’.

This book is about his transformation from being a failure to the creator of the award-winning technique ‘The Art of Failure’. It talks about his technique, hidden in the form of an entertaining but true autobiographical story. It is helpful for everyone who wants to become a fearless failure warrior rather than being a usual success hunter.

The narrative is set against the transformation of India – from its analog days to the digital age and bubbling startup economy. One thing which hasn’t changed with time though is the hatred and fear towards failure and how it has been eating up our enormous innovation potential for ages. It is time to accept failure as a part of life – where there is no failure, there is no growth. Learn from your experiences and move on!

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

I think the cover goes well with the words inside. It shows the author well put together but in fragments as well. He fails, but there are some successes and failing is part of life and what makes you the person you are today.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

I’ll admit this isn’t the typical story I’d pick up on my own if I saw it in the bookstore. Though it intrigued me enough when the author reached out to me. We all fail, so I knew it was definitely going to be something relatable.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

This is a non-fiction memoir piece about the author by the author. He describes his life in detail from the moment he’s born up until now.

Details about his life, events, places, and people, are prominent as he describes his life’s ups and downs.

I found this to be an interesting topic for an autobiography because it’s one we can all relate to. We all fail in life multiple times, from something simple to something much bigger. The question is, how do we overcome it and move on? The author explains how he overcomes failure – how he expects it – and it’s done pretty well.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

The writing style is easy to read. The story is written in block text (much like blogging) rather than indented paragraphs right after another.

The tone of the narrator seemed to fit right in with me. It was almost as though he knew he was talking to the reader. We just sat down in a coffee shop one day and he told me his life story. It felt natural and well done.

I’ll admit there were a couple parts here and there that seemed to slow down. Some parts might not have needed as much detail, but it was pretty good all the same.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was certainly an interesting read. It was well written and the context is something everyone can learn from. It’s quick at 160 pages so if it piques your interest, please give it a try.

I Am A Failure by Akhil Sharma gets…
Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com 4 out of 5 cups

Favorite Quote:

“We were scared of death back then and we still are. For us, it’s still the circle of life and not the circle of death, although both are one and the same thing.” -Akhil Sharma, I Am A Failure

Buy the book:

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About Akhil Sharma:

Akhil Sharma, AuthorAkhil Sharma aka ‘The Failure Guy’ is a renowned award losing entrepreneur, inventor and innovator. In his decade long career, ranging from being a mariner, selling credit cards to being a technologist, he is blessed to have failed almost every time. Specially designed for failure, he is using his extensive experience to conduct ‘The Art of Failure’ workshops through which he has helped individuals to keep up the spirit of trying despite failures and coached them how to listen to their hearts and find their real inspiration. These workshops have taught them how to be innovative and creative amidst a failure environment. His lifelong mission is to make the human mind friendly to failure – a concept which stands in stark contrast to the general interest in success.

In 2016, the United Nations and iCongo chose him for the Rex Karmaveer Chakra award and Global fellowship, and he is often called upon to talk about it for free on various platforms in India. He is also a Mentor for Change selected by the Niti Ayog, Indian Government in 2018.

Connect with Akhil:

Website | Twitter | LinkedIn | Goodreads

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Short Story Sunday 188: Dear Diary, Writing Buddies [NaNoWriMo]

Short Story Sunday 188: Writing Buddies

            It’s no secret that Kris and I have a love for video games, especially since we have a second blog dedicated to gaming. We also love YouTube and there are a lot of gamers we follow and watch on there. They talk about games, new and old, do reviews, top lists, and most of them have Let’s Play channels where they play through a lot of their favorite games.

We’ve been watching these guys for a couple of years now and we love each and every one of them. They’re funny, informative, and pretty cute as well.

Kris and I sometimes send writing memes to each other through Pinterest and Tumblr, mostly because they’re funny, but we try to encourage each other to continue writing at the same time. Regardless, who doesn’t want a hot celebrity smirking at you while encouraging to do what you love the most?

Last year, for NaNoWriMo 2016, I decided to create a couple of writing memes for Kris. She always had a hard time sticking to one idea throughout the month and that often slowed down her word count. She had taken a couple days off from work because she was able to and our dog was having surgery. She was going to use those days to get ahead in her novel word count.

So, I decided to print out some writing memes for Kris. I figured once she left to drive our cousins to school, I would tape one of them up onto the bathroom mirror. I knew she would definitely see it there. But, I figured, why find her favorite celebrity on the Internet when I can just make my own?

I decided to create writing memes using our favorite YouTubers. I came up with three different ideas, which was perfect because she had three days off from work. I would tape one up on the bathroom mirror before leaving for work each more.

That first day, Kris sent me a text while I was work and I nearly burst out laughing once I read what she wrote. She wrote in all caps about how she just “found Jared in our bathroom” and how I was simply awesome. Of course, if you were reading over my shoulder and had no idea what we were talking about, that conversation very well could have been taken out of context completely—and probably not in a very good way.

I had three days off from work the following week due to the election, a professional day for the teachers, and then Veteran’s Day. So, on Kris’s third and final day off from work, we were admiring the three boys, who were now taped up against our closet door.

“You know, I expect a couple of memes from you when I have a few days off from work next week.” I told her.

Kris waved her hand dismissively and said, “I already have them printed out.”

She didn’t end up just giving me three based on my days off, but she gave me four. I made her an extra one because she also had Veteran’s Day off, but I had two different ideas so I ended up giving her two. We felt the need to give each other an even amount of writing memes so Kris made me another one as well.

But both of us kept coming up with more and more ideas for these memes. And, if we’re going to be honest here, there are about 20 or so YouTubers that we want. Part of the reason we kept coming up with new ideas and pictures was because we didn’t want to leave anyone out and we were trying to get a meme for each one of the guys. Then we would of course come up with various ideas for the same YouTuber.

We have issues when it comes to YouTubers. That’s all I’m going to say on that.

Our closet door is currently filled with various pictures of our favorite YouTubers reminding us to keep writing, that we’re great writers, and that we can do it and reach our dreams.

It’s amazing how encouraging Kris and I can be to one another when it comes to YouTube and video games and writing. Of course, we’re always like that to each other, but we had way too much fun with the writing memes. It got a little too far and if anyone comes up into our room and sees our closet door, I’m not exactly sure how we’re going to explain all that.

In fact, it’s hard to believe that I’m explaining it to everyone who follows my blog.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing, though. Kris and I love watching those YouTubers and they inspire us to do what we love each and every day, just like they did and now look where they are. Plus, Kris and I can have a lot of fun and get some good laughs out of it as well.

We still give each other a writing meme once in a while as new ideas pop up and we discover new YouTubers. I don’t think this joke between the two of us is ever going to end. But then again, I’m not sure I want to let it end.

If anything, it’s a great motivator for all the NaNo sessions to come in the future.

Words: 898

I hope you enjoyed the story! Let me know what you think in the comments below and we’ll chat!