Mandy’s Miscellaneous Flavours: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?

Mindy Kaling

Three Rivers Press (Sept. 18 2012)

Hardcover

Humour and Entertainment, Humour, Essays

222 pages

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Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?”
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
 
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

***

First off, on the extremely slim chance that you are somehow reading this, I love you Mindy Kaling and I wish we were friends 5ever.

Anyways…

After lugging around numerous dense and heavy books amid midterm season (lord help us), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me is the perfect break from it all.

Not to say that this book is merely consisted of fluff. On the contrary, this book still has substance underneath all the jokes. Like Ben and Jerry’s after a long day filled of BS. Ice cream with the yummy brownie bits in it.

So what is Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me book about? In Mindy Kaling’s words: “In this book I write a lot about romance, female friendships, unfair situations that now seem unfunny in retrospect, unfair situations that I still don’t think are funny, Hollywood, heartache, and my childhood. Just that really hard-core, masculine stuff men love to read about.”

So it’s no surprise being the manliest manly-man out there that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Within this book Mindy Kaling talks about her life from childhood to adulthood, her success with The Office, from her ups and downs, to bullies and best friends, all in the form of witty stories.

We are given a peek into Mindy’s creative and playful mind, with passages entitled “Don’t Peak in High School”, “Types of Women in Romantic Comedies Who Are Not Real”, “Why do Men Put on Their Shoes So Slowly?” and other clever remarks that are sprinkled throughout the book.

At times serious, at times hilarious, but always honest, Mindy Kaling manages to weave a string of what would seem as incoherent thoughts together. Among one of her musings, one story that stuck with me well after reading it was of one about the friendship between her and a girl called Mavis in high school. The story of two friends finding each other at the perfect time only to drift apart and go their own ways just seems like something everyone will be able to relate to.

At times it’s as if she was peeking into my own mind (“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it”) rather than the other way around. And I guess that’s what I ultimately liked about this book and Mindy herself, how relatable she is. Flipping through the books pages was like reading letters sent by a close friend, which I liked a lot…

And not because the only thing I get in the mail are bills.

Until next time!

Amanda  

Paper Garden Presents Hack/ Slash Omnibus


Title: Hack/Slash Omnibus
Author: Tim Seeley, Dave Crosland, Stefano Caselli
Publisher: Devil’s Due Publishing
Year: 2008
Number of pages: 300 pages
Type: Paperback
Genre: graphic novel, horror, humour, fantasy, adult, urban fantasy

Summary:
At the end of every horror movie, one girl always survives… in this case, Cassie Hack not only survives, she turns the tables by hunting and destroying the horrible slashers that would do harm to the innocent Alongside the gentle giant known as Vlad, the two cut a bloody path through those who deserve to be put down… hard

Review:
Firstly, Hack/Slash isn’t porn. I know the cover is misleading, as even I was a little hesitant to pick it up because of the way the heroine (Cassie Hack) was posed and what she was wearing. Mind you there is a severed clown head right beside her, so you would have to be in some pretty kinky stuff.

Anywho, back to business!

Hack/Slash is all about horror, but I don’t mean the computer generated monsters and ghost of this day and age. I mean, the corny, campy horror that involved plenty of make up and rubber. Cassie and her companion Vlad hunt down and massacre, usually with the help of a baseball bat that has nails sticking out of it, serial killers who rise up from the dead. They fight all the classics, including Chuckie the psychotic doll.

Basically, if you don’t like blood and gore, you are not going to like this one. If you can’t stomach the following photo, find yourself another graphic novel because this is nothing:

Oh, did I mention that Cassie is a freaking badass! She is tough, sarcastic, and will do anything for Vlad, who would do the same for her. He is also very cool being big, green, and Hulk-like minus the invincibility. I liked Cassie. She came from a screwed up family, including a serial killer for a mother, and had some serious issues, as one does when you spend your life travelling across the country, hunting, and killing undead serial killers. She also isn’t a typical heroine, in which I mean she isn’t an “independent” woman that needs some hot guy to swoop in to save them at the last minute and then they fall in love. God am I sick of those stories. Cassie has a sort of crush on this one guy, but that lasts a single issue. The only person who saves her is Vlad, and he is not getting anywhere near her pants unless he is doing the laundry.

She is sort of a mix between Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Tank Girl.

Oh, remember when I said that this isn’t porn? It still isn’t, but there is some nudity… okay A LOT of nudity, but come now, with HBO and the Internet, you should all be used to some boob flashing… and lesbian make out scenes. Whatever.

Hack/Slash is funny, but in a cheesy, God-the-80s-called-and-they-want-their-material-back kind of way. I loved it just as much as I love horror and John Hughes movies.

Oh! I forgot to mention one little thing that I found a little annoying at the beginning, but then got used to it. The omnibus contains a bunch of stories, not all of which are drawn in the same way (there is one drawn like an Archie comic), and there are also little previews of stories that are really cool, but at the time I didn’t think they were going to be written. Luckily for me, they appeared in later omnibuses. Yay!

So, this may not be for everyone, but I loved it and I will keep reading it. Some people I know didn’t like it because they thought that it was too bloody or too much sexual content, but I found this series addictive and hilarious.

I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do!

Michelle

Meli’s Nostalgic Tales: Big Girl Panties

Title: Big Girl Panties
Author: Stephanie Evanovich
Publisher: William Morrow
Type of book: Trade Paperback
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction, Adult, Chick-Lit, humour
Pages: 336

Holly Brennan didn’t expect to be a widow at thirty-two. She also didn’t expect to be so big. Through her husband Bruce’s diagnosis and death, food was the one thing she could always count on. Now, those extra pounds make flying coach more than a little mortifying-especially since she’s sitting next to Adonis himself, aka Logan Montgomery, a personal trainer to the country’s most famous pro athletes.

– Summary from GoodReads.

Now this is part of the actual summary but let me say that it was enough to twist my interest-nub. This author went down a road not many writers where the main character is overweight and dealing with the loss of her husband. However, without even asking Holly was in need of some saving and it came in the form of one fine specimen. Now believe me I was wondering how this was going to pull through, I thought I was going to get sappy breakdowns and rage all through and through.

Yet, Holly just isn’t like that, she’s bright sassy with a mouth with more comebacks I think there should be a Guinness world-record for it. She doesn’t just overcome her physical appearance but gets her self-worth back and as a woman, some of us tend to forget how valuable we are. Yay Holly! I chocked back a sob at one point because I felt I was experience her change with her and when she came to terms with her husband Bruce’s passing. It just did funny things to me…I dunno.

Our lovely beau Logan, what should I say about him? I liked him, I thought I wouldn’t though. I pegged him to have this gas-leak type of attitude and go around strutting his stuff, proclaiming that he was superior. No, no, that was NOT the author’s choice he was a humble guy who loves to work out and make people see their true potential. Although he is portrayed as being absolutely perfect, people, he has flaws…image flaws which had me shouting “Can’t you just enjoy the cookie without counting all its chocolate bits??” yes this is me censoring things.

Eventually they do get to see the bigger picture and realize that when it comes to love, it shan’t be define by outer image but one’s own heart.

*gag gag* “what is up with all the cheese!!”

Also, what made this particular book special was the relationship between Logan’s friend Chase and his girlfriend Amanda. What little meddlers who like things on the wild side. Okay that is all I am saying. But I truly am glad I picked this up during my trip to Vancouver and was able to finish it because it was that hilarious and great. For a debut novel I am giving Stephanie Evanovich huge thumbs up. The only thing that I had trouble was imaging what Logan looked like, the description for him just wasn’t concrete at some moments until made the middle-sih of the book I just gave up and said “he is a fine piece of man-meat and there is nothing I can do about it” That is all.

Rating: 4.5

Meli <3

Meli’s Nostalgic Tales : Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story

Title: Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Type of book: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Humour, Supernatural
Pages: 324

Here I thought I was done with the vampire-drama, but something about this book besides its fantabulous cover made me give it a go and am I ever grateful.

For those of us who have forgotten what it was like to be the weird kid in Teenland, this book certainly brings back some lost time. Doug Lee, 15 and starting puberty and a little rounder than most kid is your new neighborhood vampire…by accident. A hilarious accident claims to have been bitten by a hottie, but story shows it’s a little more complicated than that. From here on in we deal with the ups and down of vampirism and teenage angst.

Ah…gotta love yeah some teenage angst.

Thankfully, Doug has Jay (best bud!) to help him deal with hunger-cravings, sizzling skin when sun-exposure occurs and still be a teen. The author does great work in highlighting why these two are great friends. It just comes to show that even if you become an un-dead, you are still someone’s pal for life…literally. A new love interest from India appears to tempt our little vampire, but she too is battling her own personal drama which is pretty juicy I must say and out of the box for me. I legit leaned back and said ” whoa well you think you know a person” Beware of The Google.. Despite getting hunted down by television-pretenders Vampire Hunters and getting a secret organization for vampires to teach you the do’s and don’ts it’s a I think Doug took it all in beautifully with his “winning” personality, especially since all he wants is to meet a nice girl, maybe fall in love and feed off from so he can stop sucking animals.

Not selfish at all! *snort*

Every page was full with so much laughter it made my time on the plane a lot more enjoyable. MY ONE COMPLAINT is the ending. The author did a break away from the usual sad or happy ending, instead he gave us alternative endings to which we could choose from-ish but even then we do go back to the present and I still do not know what it all means. And I re-read so before y’all start accusing me, just know I went back and still am not sure what to make of Doug.

So if you are willing to read it, please let me know your thoughts on the ending and we can rave about it 

Grading: 4.5/5

-Meli <3

Nostalgic Tales : Girl of Nightmares

Title: Girl of Nightmares

Publisher: Tor Teen

Author Kendare Blake

Type of book: Hardcover

Pages:332

Genre: Romance, Fantasy supernatural, horror

So it finally happened, the ending, the conclusion, the final round between good and evil. I didn’t want it to end.

Once more Madame Blake takes us on a magnificent journey, time has passed since Anna Korlov made the brave decision of descending into hell to save Cas and his friends, and while everyone is grateful for her sacrifice the only one to still ponder about it is Cassio. Where did she end up going? Is she content? And what of the Obeahman, is he truly gone? Thankfully all these questions and more get revealed in this stunning sequel.

Cas is restless, angry and generally heartbroken, he feels that nobody really understands and I think in a way he cocooned himself from life itself. He is haunted by visions of his beloved Anna causing him to lose sleep, and if that’s not bad enough our once ghost busting trio have a rift. If I saw anyone who might want to reconsider their role in the group, I wouldn’t have called that person out first. I guess sometimes supernatural experience can either make you bond together like The Ghost Busters, or fall apart like so many music bands we know today.

Despite their fallen member Cas’s waste no time in conjuring his next move. Rescuing Anna— which everyone is so against it but you know what they say “love makes you do crazy things”. I just would never imagine venturing into the deep red tomb of evil would be it. It’s a bloody fantastic ride to get there let me tell you that. However, they can’t do it alone and a trip to England is proving to unfold many mysteries and a new ally/enemy named Jestine. The best way to describe this girl would be as Cas’s female version, but more mature? Perhaps just knowledgeable and better skilled? The part where they venture away to London though does highlights some very interesting places I did not know about and perhaps I will want to see from afar of course.

Either way I was torn between being thankful that she was there when they needed help and hating her when we find out her true reason for sticking around and what it might mean for Cas and his position as…the guy who fights which goes bump in the night?

All in all I felt the book was too short, I knew it had to end but it happened way too soon so that is just my little thing, overall I enjoyed it Anna got what she deserved. Of course the sappy romantic in me wanted them to be together…even if he had to die…THERE I SAID IT I WOULD HAVE NOT MINDED IF HE DIED! Wow that feels nice to let that out. I think though, reflecting on the ending again, it kind of showed mirrored what we all wanted, or at least what I wanted. that even in death, love triumphs all or something of the latter. The selfish part of me also says that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if she did continue with this story…just one more, but I know that won’t happen so I’ll settle and just let it continue in my head.

Nevertheless, I love this author to bits and if she comes out with another work I will tune in so please look into this :)

Grading : 5/5

-Meli

Michelle’s Paper Garden: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Title: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Del Rey
Year: 1979
Type: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 216 pages
Genre: Humour, Science Fiction, Adventure, Classics, Adult

Summary: Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker’s Guide (“A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have”) and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox–the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod’s girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

[http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11.The_Hitchhiker_s_Guide_to_the_Galaxy?ac=1]

Review:
This book is ridiculous and random and makes very little sense, but it is fantastic. Any book that has quotes like “Curiously enough, the only thing that went through the mind of the bowl of petunias as it fell was Oh no, not again,” must be hilarious. When reading this book, you have to put all thoughts of normalcy aside. It is a wild ride of random events that make little sense and hilarious characters, including a depressed robot named Marvin.

Arthur is a little annoying at the beginning, but he gets better. Ford is just great. Trillian was meh and Zaphod was idiotic. Marvin was my favourite character. He causes a ship to become depressed and commit suicide. How could you not love him?

The story makes no sense. Stop trying to make sense of nonsense and just enjoy the bloody thing. Think along the lines of Alice in Wonderland, but in space with less math and more bad Vogon poetry. You will get that joke once you read both of those books. If you are looking for something meaningful, emotional, and deep, look elsewhere because you will find none of that here. It is a required taste so do tread carefully. I loved the book because I went in knowing that it would be random and ridiculous story. You have been warned.

Oh, the ending was great. Unexpected and fantastically hilarious.

4/5

Seen the movie? The book is better ☺

Meli’s Tangy Marvels: Talk Me Down by Victoria Dahl Review

Talk Me Down
Victoria Dahl
HQN – January 2009
Pocketbook
Mystery/Romance(Contemporary)/Humour/Suspense
347

So Miss Victoria Dahl clearly impressed me, so so much. This little book provides lip curling upwards motions at every page as we meet witty Molly Jennings, erotic fiction writer extraordinaire. Just reading what she did for a living I said to myself “Wow well this is new” {inserts a gigantic smile as big as the moon}. Our story tell us of the tale of little Molly, who moved away from Denver, back to her roots of Tumble Creek. Looking for some inspiration, and perhaps finish where she left off with one sexy-I like the simple life-chief of police. Molly is a handful that I almost wonder who Ben (our Chief of Police) can handle it.

And he does and it’s with one word S.E.X.!!! There are some things that mustn’t be spoken of but wow, I can only say that if I met Ben, I would definitely love to learn a thing or two hahahaha.

Okay, I’m done drooling and slipping into fantasy land.

Now, what I liked about this book…besides the sexy-time, was that it had much more to offer, we had mystery of a stalker going after Molly and I thought I had it all figured out, but wow did the ending chapters give me a flick of the wrist. I even had myself saying “But I was SURE it wasn’t that person!!” goodness and you think you know how a story is going to turn out.

Well I did…a happy ending it gave me so it’s very nice.

I did like how the author related that in life people go through career choices that not everyone can accept and don’t obtain the approval of your love ones. In that we get a sense of the loneliness Molly suffers all while hiding it behind a great big smile. Yet, she doesn’t let that turn her into this spiteful person. Molly instead is presented as this strong and independent woman who took a huge leap to find herself and we see in the story that she wouldn’t change her life.

So all in all a great read and I shall popping into more of her books I believe.
Grading : 4.5/5

Meli