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?
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ARC Review: She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller

She’s the Worst by Lauren Spieller
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Sisters April and Jenn haven’t been close in years. Jenn’s too busy with school, the family antique shop, and her boyfriend, and April would rather play soccer and hang out with the boy next door.

But when April notices her older sister is sad about staying home for college, she decides to do something about it. The girls set off to revive a pact they made as kids: spend an epic day exploring the greatest hits of their childhood and all that Los Angeles has to offer.

Then April learns that Jenn has been keeping a secret that could rip their family—and their feuding parents—apart. With only one day to set things right, the sisters must decide if their relationship is worth saving, or if the truth will tear them apart for good. 

Let’s talk about the things that drew me to this book before we talk about my actual opinions on it:

✔️ a book about sisters
✔️ the cover (especially the expressions on the two girls’ faces)
✔️ going away to college
✔️ an “epic day” together
✔️ the general hype I’d seen surrounding this book

So, all things considered, I probably should have loved this book. In the end, I was kind of indifferent. Objectively, there was nothing inherently wrong with it, but I think I might be over the target age for this one, or maybe this type of story just isn’t my cup of tea.

I could appreciate the conflict between the sisters. I could appreciate how awkward it would be for Jenn to have the conversation in question with her family, two adults who can barely keep themselves together and a younger sister with her own life and her own concerns. I could appreciate the idea of the book, a day filled with memories and excursions and family bonding.

What I could not appreciate was the constant drama.

You see, the main conflict in this book could have been resolved in about five seconds if Jenn had just opened her mouth and had a meaningful conversation with literally anyone in her family. Instead, everyone dances around the topic. Jenn avoids an uncomfortable conversation even more deftly than I do. I’ve talked so many times about how much I hate the trope of purposeful miscommunication. In this book, it just came across as childish. I understand that I was reading a book about teenagers, but one of these girls is college-aged. She should be at least trying to act like she’s ready to be an adult.

And, really, don’t even get me started on the parents. I’m sure that parents like this exist, but their existence seems to be primarily in the realm of YA novels. These are parents who are barely capable of surviving without the help of their daughter, who somehow own a business that they don’t know how to run, who blatantly ignore the issues that their children have in favor of their own petty arguments. I can understand how this type of parent creates a backdrop for a story like this, but it’s still very frustrating to me to read a YA novel with stereotypically terrible parents.

Overall, though, I thought that the writing was good. Although the characters frustrated me, they were well-developed and came with their own backstories and their own problems. The thing that kept me from enjoying the book was the constant childish drama, but that might just be my perspective as someone about a decade past the target demographic for this one.


Have you read She’s the Worst? Can you recommend any good books about siblings?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Book Review: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 1, 2014
Source: Borrowed

‘It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

When I first checked out this book from the library, I didn’t really expect it to be spooky. I don’t know what I really expected, honestly. Maybe just something a little weird. This book, though? SPOOKY. It’s made up of five short stories, all of which I enjoyed.

Our Neighbor’s House: The first short story is my second favorite in the book. Three sisters are left home alone in the winter while their father goes out. One by one, they disappear. This was such an unsettling story!

A Lady’s Cold Hands: This is probably the spookiest story in this book and it gave me some Tell-Tale Heart vibes mixed with a great revenge story.

His Face All Red: This one was kind of a classic story of jealousy and resentment with a twist at the end.

My Friend Janna: If I had to name a least favorite from this book, this would be it. There was nothing overtly terrible about it, but there was nothing amazing about it either.

The Nesting Place: This one was definitely my favorite. It was so spooky and creepy and gross.

All in all, this was a great collection of short stories. I loved the art and the colors and the writing style. If you’re looking for a dark, spooky graphic novel, I don’t know that you can do much better than this one.


Have you read Through the Woods? Have you enjoyed any spooky graphic novels recently?
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Mini Review: Soppy by Philippa Rice

Soppy by Philippa Rice
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: December 2, 2014
Source: Borrowed

True love isn’t always about the big romantic gestures. 

Sometimes it’s about sympathizing with someone whose tea has gone cold or reading together and sharing a quilt. When two people move in together, it soon becomes apparent that the little things mean an awful lot. The throwaway moments in life become meaningful when you spend them in the company of someone you love. 

SOPPY is Philippa Rice’s collection of comics and illustrations based on real-life moments with her boyfriend. From grocery shopping to silly arguments and snuggling in front of the television, SOPPY captures the universal experience of sharing a life together, and celebrates the beauty of finding romance all around us.

So fun, fact, I actually didn’t check this graphic novel out from the library, my boyfriend did! And it was just sitting there, so, because I’m me, I just went ahead and read it. I think it took all of maybe thirty minutes to finish and it was absolutely adorable.

I guess the first thing to mention is that this isn’t so much a book as it is a collection of moments from the author’s life with her boyfriend. It’s the little things in life that she illustrates here — napping on the couch, doing the dishes together, deciding whether to cook or go out to eat — and it made me smile so much. But that’s not all! Rice also illustrates the little arguments (and subsequent apologies) that are so common in relationships.

If you need a graphic novel to cheer you up and give you faith in love, this is it. If you’re already happily in a relationship, it’ll probably put a big smile on your face. But if you’re not into romance, you should probably avoid it, because all the couple-y happiness will probably make you roll your eyes.


Have you read Soppy? Can you recommend any cute graphic novels?
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Book Review: The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Source: Borrowed

Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His “wives” and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk — to get the thing they want the most.

Sometimes I come across a book that I just need to read, and The Music of What Happens was one of those books. I mean… two teenage boys running a food truck by themselves during the middle of an Arizona summer? Complete opposites with a ton of chemistry? Contemporary YA touching on serious issues without being over-the-top about it? SIGN ME UP.

I’ll start off by saying that I loved everything about the food truck. I mean, as it is, I love food trucks. But the idea of two teenage boys with absolutely no idea of how to run a food truck actually doing it — and doing well at it, at that — was a lot of fun. I’m not entirely sold on their food menu, but the drinks? Goodness. Can I have a frozen mango habanero lemonade right now?

And let me just say that I loved Max and Jordan. Or maybe I should say that I finished this book loving both Max and Jordan, because while I liked Max from the beginning, it took a while for Jordan to grow on me. Because Jordan is, above all else, extremely dramatic. One of those people that responds to a tiny criticism by screaming and crying and thinking that everybody on the entire planet must hate him. But as the book goes on, he mellows a lot and we also come to understand why he acts the way he does. And Jordan’s not the only character with good development. As the book goes on, Max learns to open up and talk about his feelings and not keep everything bottled up inside.

Now, this book does touch on several really heavy issues. This can be hit or miss for me in a book, but I think Konigsberg handled it really well. The issues are there. They’re almost always present, at least in the background, but they’re not present to the point that they feel suffocating. I guess this is the point in the review where I mention the content warnings for rape, racism, parental neglect, and addiction.

I was really torn between giving this book four and five stars. In the end, I had a little bit of a problem with the ending so I went with four. The problem, for me, was that Konigsberg brought up all of these big issues and, although some of them were dealt with, one of them was really just sort of left hanging. It’s so hard to talk about this without spoiling the ending, but I just felt that one of the issues wasn’t really given the attention it deserved at the end.

All in all, though, I really enjoyed this book and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

#mm19: diversify your reading


Have you read The Music of What Happens? Is it on your TBR?
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Book Review: Slam, Vol. 1 by Pamela Ribon

Slam, Vol. 1 by Pamela Ribon
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 8, 2017
Source: Borrowed

When life starts coming at you like a freight train, you have two options: run away screaming or lean into the hit. 

From the first day of Fresh Meat Orientation for the Eastside Roller Girls, Jennifer and Maisie knew they’d be fast friends. But when they’re drafted to different teams, the pull of competition — and their increasingly messy personal lives — threaten to drive them apart. In roller derby you take your hits, get back up, and learn how to be a better jammer, a better blocker, a better lover, and a better friend. Derby can heal your heart…but it might break a bone or two in the process. 

Bestselling novelist, screenwriter, and retired Los Angeles Derby Doll Pamela Ribon (Going In Circles, Why Girls Are Weird) joins artist Veronica Fish (Archie, Silk) for a tale of friendship, heartbreak, and truly epic jams.

Every time I go to the library, I tell myself that I need to just return books and not check anything else out. Every time I go to the library, I leave with books. What can I do. On this last trip, I was tempted by Slam. I have to say, I went in with zero expectations. I have no particular interest in roller derby, so I wasn’t sure if I’d relate to this one.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I read it all in one sitting and, despite some minor problems with it, I thought it was really well-written.

I’ll start with those problems, which really were pretty minor:

First of all, the pacing is a little off. Things happen very quickly, which isn’t necessarily a problem in a graphic novel (better than nothing happening, after all), but I felt like the resolution at the end kind of came out of nowhere.

My other problem is probably related to the very fast pacing — the fact that even after finishing this volume, I didn’t felt like I really knew any of the characters. We’ve been introduced, I recognize their faces, I know their names, I know little things about them… but I feel like we’ve just met, and by the end of the first volume, I like to feel more than just vaguely familiar with a character.

Those minor problems aside, here are some things that I really liked about this graphic novel:

First of all, the art. I really enjoyed the art style. It’s eye-catching and fun without being over-the-top. The characters are all really different from each other and easy to differentiate, which is something I haven’t found in a lot of graphic novels I’ve recently read.

Second of all, the friendships and the backstories. Here I want to say that this was shelved as YA at my library and while there’s nothing inappropriate in here, I don’t think that teenagers would necessarily relate to a lot of the problems that the characters face. We have one woman who joins roller derby because she finds out that her fiance had been cheating on her. I can relate at my current age. When I was fourteen years old? Probably not. We also have a friendship that really struggles because of school and work and other commitments. Also something I can relate to at my current age. As a teenager, I probably would have rolled my eyes and made some kind of comment about how if you really wanted the friendship to survive, you’d find the time to hang out. I thought this was really well-done because it wasn’t shoved in your face, but it was kind of a running theme through the volume.

I’m really excited to read the next volume of Slam. (Honestly, I’m probably going to do it a couple minutes after I finish writing this review.)


Have you read Slam? What was your most recent book-related surprise (positive or negative)?
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Mini Review: Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: August 30, 2018
Source: Borrowed

A short, powerful, illustrated book written by Khaled Hosseini in response to the current refugee crisis, Sea Prayer is composed in the form of a letter, from a father to his son, on the eve of their journey. Watching over his sleeping son, the father reflects on the dangerous sea-crossing that lies before them. It is also a vivid portrait of their life in Homs, Syria, before the war, and of that city’s swift transformation from a home into a deadly war zone. 

Impelled to write this story by the haunting image of young Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy whose body washed upon the beach in Turkey in September 2015, Hosseini hopes to pay tribute to the millions of families, like Kurdi’s, who have been splintered and forced from home by war and persecution, and he will donate author proceeds from this book to the UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and The Khaled Hosseini Foundation to help fund lifesaving relief efforts to help refugees around the globe. Hosseini is also a Goodwill Envoy to the UNHCR, and the founder of The Khaled Hosseini Foundation, a nonprofit that provides humanitarian assistance to the people of Afghanistan.

I have heard it said we are the uninvited.
We are the unwelcome.
We should take our misfortune elsewhere. 
But I hear your mother’s voice,
over the tide.
and she whispers in my ear,
“Oh, but if they saw, my darling.
Even half of what you have.
If only they saw.
They would say kinder things, surely.”

This is going to be a very short review because this is a very short book. I read it in just a few minutes, but it left an impression. This little book is a prayer from a father for his son and, oh my, it really made me feel things. It’s only 48 pages long, but by the time I finished, I wanted to cry.

This is the first work I’ve read by Hosseini and now I can’t even imagine why. If he was able to break my heart in 48 pages, I can’t imagine what he can do with a full-length novel.

#mm19: diversify your reading
#ps19: a book written by an author from Asia, Africa, or South America


Have you read Sea Prayer? Is it on your TBR?
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