ARC Review: The Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter, MD

The Vagina Bible by Jen Gunter, MD
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

OB/GYN, writer for The New York TimesUSA Today, and Self, and host of the show Jensplaining, Dr. Jen Gunter now delivers the definitive book on vaginal health, answering the questions you’ve always had but were afraid to ask–or couldn’t find the right answers to. She has been called Twitter’s resident gynecologist, the Internet’s OB/GYN, and one of the fiercest advocates for women’s health…and she’s here to give you the straight talk on the topics she knows best.

Does eating sugar cause yeast infections? Does pubic hair have a function? Should you have a vulvovaginal care regimen? Will your vagina shrivel up if you go without sex? What’s the truth about the HPV vaccine?

So many important questions, so much convincing, confusing, contradictory misinformation! In this age of click bait, pseudoscience, and celebrity-endorsed products, it’s easy to be overwhelmed–whether it’s websites, advice from well-meaning friends, uneducated partners, and even healthcare providers. So how do you separate facts from fiction? OB-GYN Jen Gunter, an expert on women’s health–and the internet’s most popular go-to doccomes to the rescue with a book that debunks the myths and educates and empowers women. From reproductive health to the impact of antibiotics and probiotics, and the latest trends, including vaginal steaming, vaginal marijuana products, and jade eggs, Gunter takes us on a factual, fun-filled journey. Discover the truth about:

– The vaginal microbiome 
– Genital hygiene, lubricants, and hormone myths and fallacies 
– How diet impacts vaginal health 
– Stem cells and the vagina 
– Cosmetic vaginal surgery
– What changes to expect during pregnancy, after childbirth, and through menopause
– How medicine fails women by dismissing symptoms
Plus: 
– Thongs vs. lace: the best underwear for vaginal health
– How to select a tampon 
– The full glory of the clitoris and the myth of the G Spot

… And so much more. Whether you’re a twenty-six-year-old worried that her labia are “uncool” or a sixty-six-year-old dealing with painful sex, this comprehensive guide is sure to become a lifelong trusted resource

This was kind of an impulse request on Netgalley. As someone who worked in a hospital for seven years, I am always curious about medical texts written for the average, non-medical person. As a woman, I don’t think I can ever be too educated about my own reproductive system. Although I’d never heard of Dr. Gunter before, I liked the synopsis of this book.

Reading it turned out to be a very good decision. This book covers pretty much everything you could ever want to know about vaginas and reproductive health. It’s written in a very easy-to-read, engaging way. Although some of the chapters could be pretty terrifying (I could have lived my whole life without knowing that it’s possible to tear the rectum open during childbirth and without knowing that the cervix can literally fall out through the vagina), they were definitely educational.

Probably the best thing about this book is the constant debunking of myths about vaginal health, feminine cleaning products, and STDs. Dr. Gunter takes a no-nonsense approach to everything from Goop’s jade egg to self-diagnosing various conditions.

The only negative thing I can really say about this book is that it could be very repetitive. Dr. Gunter addresses different pieces of the same conditions pretty frequently, so there can be some overlap. All in all, though, this is a great reference for pretty much anyone and I’m glad I took the time to read it.


Have you read The Vagina Bible? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Blog tour (+ review!): The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams

The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • GoodreadsB&NKoboGoogle Books
Publication Date: September 17, 2019
Source: ARC via FFBT & Netgalley

Adventures in Babysitting meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this funny, action-packed novel about a coven of witchy babysitters who realize their calling to protect the innocent and save the world from an onslaught of evil.

Seventeen-year-old Esme Pearl has a babysitters club. She knows it’s kinda lame, but what else is she supposed to do? Get a job? Gross. Besides, Esme likes babysitting, and she’s good at it.

And lately Esme needs all the cash she can get, because it seems like destruction follows her wherever she goes. Let’s just say she owes some people a new tree.

Enter Cassandra Heaven. She’s Instagram-model hot, dresses like she found her clothes in a dumpster, and has a rebellious streak as gnarly as the cafeteria food. So why is Cassandra willing to do anything, even take on a potty-training two-year-old, to join Esme’s babysitters club?

The answer lies in a mysterious note Cassandra’s mother left her: “Find the babysitters. Love, Mom.”

Turns out, Esme and Cassandra have more in common than they think, and they’re about to discover what being a babysitter really means: a heroic lineage of superpowers, magic rituals, and saving the innocent from seriously terrifying evil. And all before the parents get home.

I’ve been excited about reading The Babysitters Coven since I first saw the title and cover many months ago. Then it was compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite late 90s/early 2000s TV shows, and my anticipation went up about a hundred notches. When I saw the opportunity to join the blog tour, I knew I had to do it, and I was thrilled when I got the email that I’d been chosen to participate! So, first things first, thanks to the FFBT team, the publisher, the author, and Netgalley for making this blog tour and book review happen.

Now, onto the review.

From the beginning of the book, the parallels with Buffy the Vampire Slayer were really clear. Instead of Slayers fighting vampires, we have Sitters fighting evil, and I am 100% here for it. Esme and Cassandra reminded me a lot of Buffy and Faith.

I really enjoyed Esme as a main character. She doesn’t fall into a lot of the stereotypical YA main character pitfalls and instead comes across as a really average teenager. Even with all of this crazy stuff going on around her, she’s still worried about normal things like her mom’s illness, getting her drivers license, and avoiding the school bullies.

There were two things that really kept me from rating this higher than three stars, and they’re both things that are specific to me as a reader and I don’t think are necessarily problems in general. First, there’s a lot of modern slang in this book, and as I was reading, I imagined myself having to explain to my future child what “I was wrong AF, and now I am sorry AF” means. The only other thing that I didn’t love was how the book just kind of… ends. The action really ramps up a lot, then it’s all over with and the book is over too. I know there’s a second book in the series coming out next year, but I wish there would have been at least a little bit more closure.

All in all, though, this was a super fun book! It was cute, it was weird, and I can’t wait to see what Esme gets up to in the sequel.


About the Author

 

I’m a YA write or die, originally from Kansas but now living in California.

I’ve written for Cosmopolitan, NYLON and Seventeen, amongst other magazines, and worked with brands including Urban Outfitters, Vans and Calvin Klein.

The Babysitters Coven is my first novel, but fingers crossed it won’t be my last.

GoodreadsWebsiteInstagram


Follow the tour!

September 11th

The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club – Welcome Post

September 12th

Moonlight Rendezvous – Review + Favourite Quotes
Bookmark Lit – Review + Cover Colours
TBR and Beyond – Review + Playlist + Dream Cast
The Reading Chemist  – Review
Musings From An Addicted Reader – Review

September 13th

Here’s to happy Endings – Review
Hauntedbybooks – Review + Favourite Quotes
Flipping Through the Pages – Review
Phannie the ginger bookworm  – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Bibliophagist – Review

September 14th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Ambivert words – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Art of Living – Review
Pages Below the Vaulted Sky – Review
The Book Dutchesses – Review + Favourite Quotes

September 15th

The Book Nut – Review + Playlist
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile – Review
The Layaway Dragon – Review + Favourite Quotes
Kait Plus Books – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Review

September 16th

Bookish Geek – Review
Artsy Draft – Review + Favourite Quotes
We Live and Breathe Books – Review
Bookish In Bed – Review + Favourite Quotes
The Desert Bibliophile – Review

September 17th

Wishful Endings – Review
Novel Nerd Faction – Review
Lili Lost in a Book – Review
The Mind of a Book Dragon – Review + Playlist
Lost in Storyland – Review


Enter the giveaway!

Win a finished copy of The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams!
(US Only, ending September 25, 2019)


Have you read The Babysitters Coven? Is it on your TBR? Can you think of any other witchy books you’ve read recently? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 27, 2019
Source: Purchased

Deja and Josiah are seasonal best friends.

Every autumn, all through high school, they’ve worked together at the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world. (Not many people know that the best pumpkin patch in the whole wide world is in Omaha, Nebraska, but it definitely is.) They say good-bye every Halloween, and they’re reunited every September 1.

But this Halloween is different—Josiah and Deja are finally seniors, and this is their last season at the pumpkin patch. Their last shift together. Their last good-bye.

Josiah’s ready to spend the whole night feeling melancholy about it. Deja isn’t ready to let him. She’s got a plan: What if—instead of moping and the usual slinging lima beans down at the Succotash Hut—they went out with a bang? They could see all the sights! Taste all the snacks! And Josiah could finally talk to that cute girl he’s been mooning over for three years . . .

What if their last shift was an adventure?

In case you weren’t aware, I am a huge Rainbow Rowell fan. I’ve previously reviewed Fangirl, Carry On, Attachments, Eleanor & Park, and Landline on this blog. Pumpkinheads was one of my more anticipated books of the year. I’ve been a little wrapped up in my move, though, so I didn’t even realize that it had already released until I found my preorder in my mailbox. I read the whole thing that same night.

Here’s the thing. This is definitely a Rainbow book. The characters are cute. The story is cute. The pumpkin patch is cute. The art is cute. Everything about it is cute. I want to go to this pumpkin patch. I want to eat literally everything in this book and go on every ride. But if everything was so great, why am I only giving it three stars?

The biggest reason for my rating is the fact that I predicted the entirety of the plot on about page three. The plot is very simple, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I just wanted a bit more from this book. I feel like I can’t say anything about the plot because one sentence could give it all away.

I might not have adored this book as much as I’d expected to, but it was still a fun read! Now the countdown to Wayward Son begins…


Have you read Pumpkinheads? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 1, 2012
Source: Purchased

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

Drama is one of those books that I’ve seen floating around the bookish universe a lot. I see it on blogs, I see it on Goodreads, and I see it on lists of frequently challenged books. When I found it at my library’s used bookstore for only $2, I figured I didn’t have much to lose by buying it. I read it over the course of about 45 minutes and while it was fine, I didn’t love it.

To be fair, I don’t read a ton of middle grade books, and especially middle grade graphic novels. I appreciated a lot of the themes in this book — being comfortable with yourself, the normalization of pre-teen gay and bisexual characters, and following your passions. As someone who did tech crew for several plays and musicals in high school, I enjoyed the fact that much of this book takes place behind-the-scenes at a middle school production.

That said… this book was just so dramatic. And I guess that’s to be expected. I mean, the title of the book is literally Drama. While I had expected play-related drama, I hadn’t expected so much romantic drama. The main character, Callie, is absolutely fixated on finding herself a boyfriend. She falls for multiple boys over the course of this 238-page book. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but I expected that this story would be more about the play than about this seventh grader attempting to get a boyfriend.

Another thing that didn’t sit quite right with me was the insinuation that romantic relationships should be a big part of middle school. Time to get personal for a second — I didn’t go on my first date until I was sixteen years old, and I didn’t get into my first actual relationship until I was eighteen. One of the characters in this book is referred to as a “late bloomer” because, at twelve years old, he’s never had a girlfriend. Is that really considered abnormal now? I had to keep reminding myself that these characters are supposed to be pre-teens, because their romantic entanglements (and the responsibilities they’re given for the play!!) make them feel more like high school upperclassmen.

Overall, this book was a lot of fun to read, but the sheer amount of romantic drama kept me from rating it any higher than three stars.


Have you read Drama? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Source: Borrowed

My first time getting it in the butt was kind of weird. I think it’s going to be weird for everyone’s first time, though.

Meet Jack Rothman. He’s seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys – sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, ‘it could be worse’.

He doesn’t actually expect that to come true.

But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he’s been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack’s secret admirer knows everything: where he’s hanging out, who he’s sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they’ll force him.

As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous…

This book has been on my radar since I first saw it on Netgalley (and was sadly declined). I was drawn to it because I love the idea of a sex positive YA book, especially one featuring a character like Jack, a gay boy who unapologetically loves makeup, shopping, and sex. When I saw it at my library, I had to check it out and see what it was like.

I ended up having some really, really conflicted feelings about this one.

Like I said, I love the concept. I love that YA books are moving in a more sex positive direction, and I think this book was a very good idea. I think that the advice Jack gave throughout the book was great (although I have to suspend a lot of disbelief to think that a teenager would know enough about sex to reasonably give such wide-ranging advice), and it reminded me a lot of a more risque version of the advice column in Ask Me Anything.

The discussion of consent, coming out, asexuality, healthy relationships… all of that was great. The fact that Jack and his friends smoke cigarettes, frequently get black out drunk, and hook up with random strangers on Grindr (despite being actual teenagers)? Not so great. Of course, I don’t want to censor life for the target demographic of this book. I’m not deluding myself into thinking that many teenagers aren’t going out and doing these exact things. But there’s never any consequence for these behaviors. Jack doesn’t get in trouble for smoking inside the school. (What?) Aside from a mini-lecture from his mother, there’s very little said about the alcohol. There’s never a discussion about the possible repercussions of lying about your age on a hook up app. Jack has a lot of sex with a lot of different people and good for him, but it felt like all of this was inserted into the book to scream, “HEY, LOOK AT JACK! HE’S ONE OF THE COOL KIDS!”

Now, aside from that, one of the other things I wanted to mention was the mystery, or, really, the lack of it. The thing is, throughout the book, Jack occasionally gets these ominous notes from a stalker. They start out fine, along the lines of “I think you’re cute” and slowly progress into some really creepy, threatening stuff. Jack gets freaked out by it, but he never really does anything aside from worry, so what’s the point? I found the principal’s reaction troubling, to say the least, and the way everything ended left a lot to be desired. If this were just a book about the sex column without this weird stalker plot, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

All in all, I think that this book had a great concept, but I’m not entirely on board with the execution. I appreciate the open and honest Q&A about sex and think it’ll help a lot of teens, but the constant partying and constant sex made me, an adult, feel weird. If the characters were even a couple years older, this would have been less of an issue, I think.


Have you read Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via publisher

The Last Magician meets A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue in this thrilling tale filled with magic and set in the mysterious Carpathian Mountains where a girl must hunt down Vlad the Impaler’s cursed ring in order to save her father.

Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it. 

Let me just start this review off by saying that The Lady Rogue was one of my most anticipated books for the entirety of 2019. Jenn Bennett is one of my all-time favorite authors (if not the favorite, I mean… just look at that drawing of me holding Starry Eyes below) and I basically devour everything that she ever writes. As much as it pains me to say it, The Lady Rogue and I did not click as much as I’d hoped.

Part of this, I think, is definitely me. It’s been a stressful few weeks in this household. Major life changes are coming and I’ve had very little time to read. I’ve been in the mood for something I can sit down and finish in one sitting, not a book that would take several hours of my time.

I picked this one up and put it right back down a few times in the past month because I just couldn’t get into it. But I threw this book in my backpack when I took a quick weekend trip to Tennessee, just on the off chance that I’d get a minute to read it, and ended up with a cancelled flight and, finally, a lot of time to read. And while it might have taken me several weeks to get into it, once I got into it, I finished it in a couple of hours.

All of this is to say that this is not a bad book. There is nothing inherently wrong with this book. And three stars is not a bad rating! It’s one of those it’s not you, it’s me kind of things.

I will explain.

First things first, what I liked. As always, I love Jenn Bennett’s writing style. She’s one of those writers that, once I get absorbed in the book, I can just go for hours without stopping. The action was steady, but never too much. I loved our main character, Theo, and her adventures traipsing around Europe in search of a mystical ring and her missing father.

Now, for what I wasn’t so sold on. I’ve spent a little bit of time sitting here thinking about why exactly I didn’t love this book as much as I’ve loved Jenn Bennett’s other work, and I think a lot of it comes down to the genre. I’ve had a hard time recently getting into this fantastical kind of adventure story recently (see The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy).

I also associate Jenn Bennett with cute contemporary romances (see Starry Eyes, Alex, Approximately, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart, Serious Moonlight) and although there’s the barest hint of a romance here, it felt kind of like an afterthought. Huck was definitely my least favorite of Bennett’s love interests and I really struggled to feel any chemistry between him and Theo. But, again, romance isn’t really the point of this book. The adventure is the point, and I kept having to remind myself of that.

I think, all in all, that The Lady Rogue is a really well-written, really fun YA historical fantasy. If you go into it knowing that’s what it is and are prepared for it to be very different from Bennett’s previous work, you’ll probably enjoy it. Even though it wasn’t my favorite of her work, I can still appreciate the good writing and the good story, and I’m so excited to read whatever she comes up with next.


#arcaugust
#mm19: mode of transportation


Have you read The Lady Rogue? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: I love this part by Tillie Walden

I love this part by Tillie Walden
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: November 13, 2015
Source: Purchased

Two girls in a small town in the USA kill time together as they try to get through their days at school.

They watch videos, share earbuds as they play each other songs and exchange their stories. In the process they form a deep connection and an unexpected relationship begins to develop.

In her follow up to the critically acclaimed The End of Summer, Tillie Walden tells the story of a small love that can make you feel like the biggest thing around, and how it’s possible to find another person who understands you when you thought no-one could.


I think that it took me all of ten minutes to read this book. It’s a graphic novel, it’s 68 pages, and it is very emotional. This is going to be a pretty short review because, like I said… 68 pages.

This was my first graphic novel by Tillie Walden, and I have to say that I’m impressed. While it was very, very short, it was also very, very emotional. I don’t think I was necessarily prepared for the amount of emotions this book would make me feel, but I really enjoyed it.

The only reason I’m not rating it five stars is that I would have loved for it to be a little longer and to explore things a little more fully, but all in all, this was a great graphic novel and I can’t wait to read more from this author.


Have you read I love this part? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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