Book Reviews: A Strange Mix, and Lindsey Stirling

Overheard at Coffee Bean:
“C’mon, she’s wearing pink! How hot could she be?”

Isis Orb
Last week I reviewed a collection of Pearls Before Swine and thought I’d gotten my recommended yearly allowance of puns. So why did I pick up a Xanth? Am I that self-destructive?
In this fortieth entry in the series, we get a guy called Hapless, who is well named at the beginning, but the fact he’s willing to learn belies that. One chapter in and he’s already lost the only girl he’s ever had a chance with; Hapless indeed. He’s forced to take a quest from an ornery magician, picking up companions along the way, especially a bunch of hot babes he quickly falls in love with. Everyone wants a wish granted, although not all of them will need the magic of the Isis Orb to make it come true.
Yes, it’s as silly as expected, and thankfully fun. Nothing groundbreaking, of course; would you expect such a thing in the fortieth installment of a series? Perhaps overlong; by the end of the story Hapless had forgotten about Cylla, and so had I.
Feline never kept her promise of hunting down the rat. . .

The Only Pirate At The Party
For those of you familiar with violinist Lindsey Stirling’s hyperactive—but always cute—cheerfulness and enthusiasm, this is a distilled and bottled version of all that sunshine in concentrated form. Right off the bat she explains why it’s good to be a pirate, though not when your mom tells you to wash the dishes.
As expected, this is basically in chronological order, a good idea as we see the development of that giant personality through childhood. I’m frankly amazed by how much she remembers of those years; it’s probably just me, but I hardly remember anything from that age. Plus her father seems to have recorded every moment of her life, if you’ve ever seen the video playing during one of her concerts. The Tooth Fairy story is the best, especially her kid rationalization as to why her friend got more money than she did.
That kind of quirky thought process is showcased throughout the book, but once she gets to a certain point she also opens up about her worst moments, especially fighting an eating disorder and depression. I can see a lot of people recommending this book to those currently suffering, to let them know they’re not alone.
But the bulk of this book showcases her humor; she can even be sarcastic without sounding snarky, which is not easy. One chapter is about her experiences with alcohol and drugs; it’s as long as this sentence. If you’ve seen any of her personal videos on “The Tube,” you’ll find her just as silly here, and that’s exactly what I was looking for when I picked this up. Nothing better in a book—or a person—than a sense of humor.
The biggest laugh of many was when she thought she heard escrow and got it completely wrong. {Escrow ≠ escort.}

Sex Hell
New Jersey
Semi neurotic girl in New Jersey who doesn’t enjoy sex with her boyfriend makes a dumb deal with a bad witch to spice things up in the bedroom. Too bad she didn’t specify with who. . .
The gist of it: “I’ve got a desire to be younger, okay? And you’ve got a desire to have better sex. And for a small price, I can fix your problem. All I want is a little bit of your youth. Gimme about ten or twenty years; let’s call it fifteen. In exchange for that, I’ll fix your sex life. No more awkward fumbling around. No more faking orgasms— oh! oh! oh! And no more having to do anything you don’t want to do.”
And that’s before we’re introduced to Suzy Spitfire. The good news: the price gets talked down. the bad news: there’s a catch on the back end, of course.
The best thing going for this book is that there’s plenty of humor, especially when the Road Trip with Benefits hits the highway. Despite her silliness, I like Debbie, although that comes with the realization that, had she existed in real life, she’d be dead several times over. This also has one of the strangest antagonists ever, but considering all the sex, violence, and demons, the tone is incredibly light and fluffy. It’s a fun read, and that’s all that matters.

Bloom County Episode XI: A New Hope
Wow, I remember Bloom County from when I was in college. Then it stopped and I never gave it another thought. It took a plea from Harper Lee—sorry for the rhyme—to bring the strip back, although I’m guessing Donald Trump had something to do with it too.
And just to make things as meta as possible, Opus has woken up from a 25-year slumber, though no one seems to have aged. Even Bill the Cat is still almost alive. There are three or four strips and then a Sunday special, with some having quotes from fans.
Yes, as expected there’s Trump right away, now known as Stormtrumper. There’s a baby on social media; that’ll end well. A penguin would indeed make a great support animal, if you can handle the stink. But no, Young Han Solo would never wear a red bowtie.
There wasn’t anything particularly new here—names of new politicians and trends plugged in, of course—but that’s a good thing.



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