Monday, June 19, 2017

Saga, Vol.1 by Brian K. Vaughan

Title: Saga, Vol. 1
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Released October 23, 2012
Bought Paperback from Amazon
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults (Summary from Goodreads).


Review

So this book reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. They aren't similar in any way whatsoever in terms of story-line, it's just that both had me hooked because of how, ahem, "adult" some of the scenes were, as well as the violence and overall dark tone set by the illustrations. The art, by the way, is so colorful and captures all my attention.

There are so many weird things in this book.  We have people with wings, people with horns, people with TVs as heads, hipster ghosts, a lynx that senses when people are lying, etc.  I mean, it's weird as hell, but somehow it works.

The characters are witty and multi-faceted.  There are hints in the book that they have history and I feel there is a boatload of info that I can't wait to learn about them.  Already, a potential adversary for our main characters shows he can kill without a thought, yet tries to save a 6-year old from being a sex slave.

The bad thing about graphic novels is that they are too short! I can't tell if I will really like this series until I read more. I definitely want to read the next one, though!! I'm keeping this review short and spoiler-free, but future reviews for this series will probably have spoilers.
Friday, June 2, 2017

Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money


Title: Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money
Author: Dave Ramsey
Released March 3, 2015
Bought from Amazon
Rating: 5/5

Summary

Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money covers the A to Z of Dave’s money teaching, including how to budget, save, dump debt, and invest. If you’re looking for practical information to answer all your “How?” “What?” and “Why?” questions about money, this book is for you. You’ll also learn all about insurance, mortgage options, marketing, bargain hunting and the most important element of all—giving. Now let’s be honest: This is the handbook of Financial Peace University (Summary from Goodreads).


Review

This is actually the first self-help book that I've read in its entirety, because the writing was easy to understand and this book made me feel excited, actually excited, to follow Dave Ramsey's Baby Steps.  Personal finance is a topic that interests me, but I often feel overwhelmed by all the information out there.  I'm always wondering if I'm really reading the right information, or if I'm getting sucked into a scam.

I don't even remember how I suddenly decided to look at Dave Ramsey's books, but I asked my dad if he's ever heard of him.  My dad meets the definition of Nerd in Dave Ramsey's book when it comes to finances, so when my dad told me he liked him, I thought this could be a good guy to learn something from.  You see, when I ask my dad about financial stuff, he just says "I'll get you set up right when you graduate college." But all I can think of is, God forbid, what if he dies tomorrow? I need to know this stuff now or I might not have anyone as financially literate and trustworthy as my own dad to teach me (okay, there are others I trust in my family, but my dad is my go-to person for advice).  I decided to read this book now so I can get some of my dad's input to verify what I was reading.

So, if you are in a similar situation as me, in college or starting a career with little knowledge of how to handle your personal finances, I think this book is an excellent starting point.  You don't have to follow his steps if you don't trust them, but it's great for learning the basic options out there for insurance, retirement, and mortgages.  Personally, I think the thousands of great reviews from the people he has helped is a testament to his advice.  His advice may seem simplistic, but I think over-complicating things is what gets us into messes in the first place.

One of the things that I really liked about Dave is that he stresses giving.  Although he presents it from a Christian perspective (as a Catholic this resonated with me), I think that giving is something that can make most people feel good about themselves and give some purpose to life. Not only that, but he challenges the notion that being financially well-off makes you selfish.  After all, you can't give to others if you have nothing to give!

After finishing this book, I felt empowered.  I'm a big-time worrier, so having a basic plan (the Baby Steps) to follow after college has eased my mind greatly.  If you don't want to purchase the book, but are curious about the Baby Steps, you can find information on his website. There are also several nice infographics floating around on Pinterest.
Thursday, June 1, 2017

June TBR

I finally managed to read the following books last month! Yay!


On the TBR for June:

1. Dave Ramsey's Complete Guide to Money by Dave Ramsey- Not YA. Like at all, but I'm in the mood to read about personal finance.  Don't worry, the YA books are coming!  Besides, a little practical advice never hurt anyone.











2. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - This has been on my radar all year. It's supposed to be light and fluffy, and Maria likes light and fluffy.











3. Saga: Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan - I really need to catch up on my Goodreads challenge with some shorter books, so I thought I would read some weird-looking graphic novels that have high ratings!  Depending on how much I like this one, I may read other volumes in this series this month.










4. Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - My brother was bugging me to read this book years ago, and I kinda randomly decided: it's time. I'm in the mood for something different, as you can tell by my selection of books for this month 😉











5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (Audiobook) - When I was looking for good audiobooks to spend my credits on, I recognized the name of this book from the tv show.  It has fantastic ratings and I've been in the mood for a mystery lately!


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed


~Audiobook Review~
Title: Rogue One (Star Wars Disney Canon Novel)
Author: Alexander Freed
Released December 20, 2016
Listened via Audible subscription
Rating: 4/5

Summary

As the shadows of the Empire loom ever larger across the galaxy, so do deeply troubling rumors. The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion. A weapon too terrifying to contemplate . . . and a threat that may be too great to overcome.

If the worlds at the Empire's mercy stand any chance, it lies with an unlikely band of allies: Jyn Erso, a resourceful young woman seeking vengeance; Cassian Andor, a war-weary rebel commander; Bodhi Rook, a defector from the Empire's military; Chirrut Imwe, a blind holy man and his crack-shot companion, Baze Malbus; and K-2SO, a deadly Imperial droid turned against its former masters. In their hands rests the new hope that could turn the tide toward a crucial Rebellion victory--if only they can capture the plans to the Empire's new weapon.

But even as they race toward their dangerous goal, the specter of their ultimate enemy--a monstrous world unto itself--darkens the skies. Waiting to herald the Empire's brutal reign with a burst of annihilation worthy of its dreaded name: Death Star (Summary from Goodreads).

Review

I saw the Rogue One film last December and knew that there was something about it that stood out to me more than the other Star Wars films.  As soon as I saw that there was a novelization of the film, I knew I wanted to read it to get an in-depth view of the characters' thoughts.

The novelization is very similar to the film, but has a few extra scenes.  Listening to the audiobook was almost like seeing the movie again, especially during the anxiety-inducing final scenes.  The relationship between Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor really stood out to me on screen, and their relationship is the main reason why I decided to either listen to or read the novelization.  I think the book is successful in developing these two characters up.  We get a better picture of their thought processes, motivations, and character development.  Even Krennic's POV was interesting to read, as twisted as his mind is.

When it comes to the side characters like Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus, the novelization did not add much to their relationship and history.  I think I felt a better emotional connection to these characters on-screen.  Overall, this was a cool novel to listen to.

Audiobook Performance Review
Narrated by: Jonathan Davis
Rating: 5/5

Once again, my history of audiobooks is rather short, but I thought the performance by Jonathan Davis was fantastic.  His voice acting for most of the male characters sounded very similar to the film actors.  This was nice because it made it easier for me to visual the film actors while listening to the book.  I highly recommend the audiobook, as it even has cool sound effects!
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