Read This If You've Ever Had an Introvert Hangover

Because a Talking Hangover is a Real Thing (5 stars)

The world belongs to the extroverts. I learned that pretty quickly in primary school. But where does that leave everyone else? In my experience, it leaves most introverts feeling like they don't belong anywhere.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World is a remarkably smart, funny look at how one person has made peace with her introversion. I've known many fellow introverts over the years and while Tung's level of introversion is a bit deeper than my own I found it so very relatable. It was nice to find that many of her experiences were quite universal for introverts (and often their extrovert partners, too). 

If you've ever declined an invitation or made a weak excuse to get out of a social event there's humor for you. Found yourself feeling majorly hungover after attending a mandatory work function or family gathering even though you didn't touch the booze? Yep, Tung covers the introvert hangover perfectly. If you sometimes find yourself huddled behind a big book or wearing headphones even when you've got no music on in public spaces chances are you'll feel comforted to discover you're far from alone.

With lovely illustrations, warm wit, and the courage to share all of the awkwardness that comes with being introverted Tung has written a tome I'm likely to read anytime I'm feeling down about my failings at extraversion. I also think it would be a great gift to give the introverts in your life to show them that you're cool with who they are. Maybe you'll even get lucky and they'll decide to sit next to you while they read it and you do something else—a high sign that an introvert likes you.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Quiet Girl in a Noisy World: An Introvert's Story by Debbie Tung

How relatable is this?
Graphic Novel, Self Help, Psychology
 Digital/Print (184 pages, ANDREWS MCMEEL) 
This illustrated gift book of short comics illuminates author Debbie Tung's experience as an introvert in an extrovert’s world. Presented in a loose narrative style that can be read front to back or dipped into at one’s leisure, the book spans three years of Debbie's life, from the end of college to the present day. In these early years of adulthood, Debbie slowly but finally discovers there is a name for her lifelong need to be alone: she’s an introvert.The first half of the book traces Debbie’s final year in college: socializing with peers, dating, falling in love (with an extrovert!), moving in, getting married, meeting new people, and simply trying to fit in. The second half looks at her life after graduation: finding a job, learning to live with her new husband, trying to understand social obligations when it comes to the in-laws, and navigating office life. Ultimately, Quiet Girl sends a positive, pro-introvert message: our heroine learns to embrace her introversion and finds ways to thrive in the world while fulfilling her need for quiet.

Beginning Readers Discover These Great Starters

Grow Stronger Readers with Discover Reading Leveled Titles (4 stars)

I teach reading at the elementary school level and very much enjoy doing so. Working with kindergarten and first-grade students of varying strengths I am always on the lookout for good reads to recommend for at home. While not without a few flaws, I found Discover Cats to be a good way to check out the imprint, and see if they would be digital reads worth a recommendation.

Most of my little readers love non-fiction and learning about animals. I work with mostly higher level readers so I don't think this Level 2 title would be challenging enough for my particular group but for a strong kindergartner or lower level first-grader I think it would be a good option.

I was impressed with the high-quality photos and simple typeface but found a couple of the word choices a bit odd. Potentially too challenging? Maybe, but not to the point I think it's a book to skip.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Discover Cats by Katrina Streza

Non-fiction, Children, Animals
Print/Digital (34 pages, XIST)

Read all about cats in this Discover Reading Beginning Reader. Does your child love cats and kittens? This super cute nonfiction reader features adorable photos of cats and kittens paired with manageable sentences for kindergarten, first, and second-grade kids beginning to read fluently.Discover Reading titles feature short sentences, word lists, and questions at the end of each book to further the learning process. (Level 2)

Your Favorite Book from Childhood Is Now a Cookbook

Your Favorite Book from Childhood Is Now a Cookbook (4 stars)

If you grew up reading the marvelous Anne of Green Gables series chances are you're going to adore this cookbook. Peppered with story quotes, charming illustrations, and beautiful photographs this is a cookbook that would make a lovely gift for a fan. I rarely use but have a wide collection of fandom and pop culture-centric cookbooks so I can't vouch for whether the recipes are actually practical or delicious. My guess is that if the author paid as much close attention to the recipes as she did the little details they're probably great.

Whether you pick it up as a gift for a lover of all things Avonlea or for your own shelf it's a beautiful book.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook: Charming Recipes from Anne and Her Friends in Avonlea by Kate Macdonald, L.M. Montgomery

Cooking, Literature, Pop Culture, Nostalgia 
Digital/Print (112 pages, QUARTO) 
Finally experience the foods from this classic children's series with The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook.Join Anne Shirley and her friends in Avonlea with the charming recipes in The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook, a recipe collection inspired by L.M. Montgomery’s famous children’s book series, Anne of Green Gables.Have you ever wanted to sneak a sip of Diana Barry’s Favorite Raspberry Cordial or try a slice of Anne Shirley’s Liniment Cake (without the liniment!)? Now you can, with the delightful teatime snacks, mains, desserts, and more created by Kate Macdonald, L.M. Montgomery’s granddaughter.From Poetical Egg Salad Sandwiches and Marilla’s Plum Pudding with Caramel Pudding Sauce(without the mouse!) to Gilbert’s Hurry-Up Dinner, the recipes included here are mentioned throughout the books in the Anne of Green Gables series, along with recipes from L.M. Montgomery’s own kitchen. With a lovely grosgrain ribbon, full-color photography, whimsical illustrations, and quotes and anecdotes, this cookbook is the ideal gift for all “kindred spirits” and lovers of Avonlea.


How To Make Awesome Cakes Without Any Baking

Way cooler than baking a cake! (5 stars)

Dessert is my heaven. Cake, pie, ice cream, pastries, you're all close friends. There's one humble treat though that hasn't gotten its due. The crispy rice treat deserves far more recognition as a brilliant combination of minimal ingredients and not needing an oven. On scorching hot days like today I'll brave the stovetop if I must but bake a birthday cake? Nope.

Which is where Jessica Siskin's clever book comes in! It raises the beige squares we all know from our childhood to an art form. Having tried my hand at this a few times in the past I can say that it does take some practice but the results are always delicious even if your design is a little lopsided. 

Siskin's ideas are a lot of fun from a checkerboard and life-size apples to a birthday cake and a barbecue there're designs and instructions for almost any occasion. Better yet, there aren't any crazy hard to find ingredients or techniques to learn. As long as you can follow directions and use measuring spoons/cups you're bound to create something adorable and be a total hit where ever you take it. One of my personal favorites is the cereal bowl, ha!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Treat Yourself!: How to Make 93 Ridiculously Fun No-Bake Crispy Rice Treats by Jessica Siskin

Cookbook, Desserts, Cake, No-Bake
Digital/Print (304 pages, WORKMAN)

It all began with a giant cheeseburger-shaped rice crispy treat, created on a whim and posted online. Since then, Misterkrisp, aka food artist Jessica Siskin, has become an Instagram sensation with her joy-inducing, pop-culture-inspired treats.
Treat Yourself! is the perfect answer for any cook, crafty food lover, or creative parent looking to make crowd-pleasing and personalized treats for birthdays, holidays, school events, and virtually every other occasion. With no baking required, these playful, visually dazzling sweets are simple enough for anyone to whip up.
Each of the 93 projects, arranged from Apple to Zebra, starts with a single base recipe. There are large, cake-sized treats to share and individual-sized treats perfect for bake sales and goody bags. Step-by-step instructions, vibrant illustrations, and downloadable templates ensure that anyone, with any level of skill, can turn out delicious, eye-catching creations: Lively designs for kids’ parties—Robot, Dinosaur, Crown, Balloons. A Cheeseburger. A Statue of Liberty. A Dancing Lady Emoji. And a sweet centerpiece for your next Super Bowl bash: a Football Stadium filled with sprinkle spectators. It’ll serve the neighborhood!
Treats have never been so much fun or so doable.


Review: HEATHEN VOL. 1 by Natasha Alterici

My favorite graphic novel release (so far) for 2017! (5 stars)

This comic ticked so many "yes please" items off my list of things I like to read about I kinda want to run through the streets throwing copies at strangers. Beautiful art I'd love to hang on my walls. Check. Norse mythology. Check. Ass-kicking women warriors. Check. A romantic plot/subplot. Double check. A heroine rebelling against the culture of she was raised in and refusing to be changed to fit the "norm". CHECK!!!

I forget where I originally heard about Heathen but what initially excited me about reading it was that she was a queer character. I've been actively seeking more LGBTQIA+ reading both because I enjoy it and because I want to support those who are telling these stories. Heathen did not disappoint. Aydis is a character I'd happily follow to the halls of Valhalla, she's a feminist heroine that fans of Wonder Woman are sure to enjoy. I wouldn't suggest this for kids but when my daughter hits her teens I'd gladly let her read it.

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

HEATHEN VOL. 1 by Natasha Alterici

Comics, Graphic Novels, Mythology, LGBTQIA+, Feminism
Print (112 pages, VAULT)
Aydis is a viking, a warrior, an outcast, and a self-proclaimed heathen. Aydis is friend to the talking horse Saga, rescuer of the immortal Valkyrie Brynhild, and battler of demons and fantastic monsters. Aydis is a woman. Born into a time of warfare, suffering, and subjugation of women, she is on a mission to end the oppressive reign of the god-king Odin.


21 Ways to a Happier Depression

For some this can be a handy resource. (4 stars)

Ugh, depression is the worst. I've been experiencing different types of depression from a really young age. Sadly, it runs heavily through my family and often manifests alongside addiction, eating disorders, and anxiety. Because I've experienced it in different ways at different ages and paired with different life circumstances I am ever searching for more ways to combat it. 21 Ways to a Happier Depression isn't going to cure anyone and it doesn't claim it will either but it could be a useful resource for those who are struggling.

My most recent—and most debilitating—bout with depression would not have been helped much. When it's a struggle to get out of the bed, finding the will to make the bed can be all but impossible. And that's one of the simplest suggestions here. Even so, many of the 21 ways could and will benefit anyone struggling with depression. Many of them are creative pursuits, others just simple self care. Maybe they seem difficult and for some they most definitely aren't realistic, but for others it might be a list to work through. One thing I find helps me during my depressions is having someone else give me lists of things to do. This book could be just that if you need it.

If you're living with depression or know someone who is I believe this book has the potential to bring some distraction at the very least and even moments of happiness if you're open to it.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

21 Ways to a Happier Depression: A Creative Guide to Getting Unstuck from Anxiety, Setbacks, and Stress by Seth Swirsky

Mental Health, Self-Help, Depression, Wellness
Digital/Print (112 pages, SOURCEBOOKS)
Say goodbye to dreary shades of black and white and start seeing the world for the prism of color it is with this refreshing and creative guide! In a unique combination of art, activities, and uplifting anecdotes, 21 Ways to a Happier Depression leads you on a hands-on journey to personal growth. Getting you out of one of "those moods" can be as simple as:
• Making the bed
• Nurturing a plant
• Painting shapes in loops and colors
• Breaking down your work into a to-do list
• Getting a fresh new look with some different d├ęcor, or even a haircut!
Inspired by his own life experience, Clinical Psychologist Seth Swirsky gently encourages positive introspection through honest and practical advice. With this book, a happier depression is literally in your hands!

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