Book Review | The Lady From The Black Lagoon

Hi Bookish Friends!

I’m writing to you from my sick bed. It has been my intention to write this review days ago, but I was struck with a cold/fever for the past couple of days. I finally gave up and took a day off which in turn gave me some time to lay around, contemplate life, and also write this review. So without further ado, here it finally is… The Lady From The Black Lagoon!

For anybody who also happens to follow me on Instagram, you would have seen me post endless quotes from this book. The Lady From The Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara tells the story of Mallory, a producer, and screenwriter on her quest to find out more about Milicent Patrick, one of Walt Disney’s first female animators and designer of the monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon (phew, that’s a mouthful). Now, full disclaimer, when you are reading this book, it will not only be a history of Milicent Patrick but also of the author’s process of finding this information and experience in the film industry as well. Some people will not like that. I found that it added more dimension to the story.

We learn that Milicent was one of the first female Disney animators, although she had claimed sometimes to being the first, and helped animate scenes in the classic Fantasia. So many of us grew up watching Fantasia, myself included, but we never really appreciate the time and art that goes into making films such as those. O’Meara goes over the process in detail and wow, I wanted to stop reading and watch the film and see if I can point out what was Milicent’s work. Which I did. I looked it up on gold ol’ YouTube. It really is a work of art, and if you haven’t watched it in a long time, it’s worth it. But it does make me sad that Milicent, along with other female animators and artists, never got their credit.

Not only does O’Meara speak about Milicent’s life and how it came to be that she got no credit for her part in the film industry, but she goes over many truths that are still prevalent today. For most of history, men have taken control of almost every facet of society, the film industry included. It’s only until recently that women are saying #TimesUp to all the injustice. Just how now we are giving voices to the countless women in the film industry, O’Meara attempts to do the same to Milicent. She wasn’t perfect, or extraordinary, but she loved art and films and wanted to be a part of that. Because of over-egotistical men (one man in particular), her name was wiped out, and she stayed quiet as so many women do.

Don’t go into this book expecting concrete answers and a full-on biography of Milicent. We get most of her life, yes, but we also get truth-bomb as to why things get hidden and how we can help.

Until next time.

Read Something Wonder & Stay Curious

Gisela

Book Review | The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon ☀️

Hello my bookish friends!

I hope you are all having a magical week so far. It’s Wednesday so we are halfway to the weekend and I cannot wait to jump into bed and catch up on some sleep, wake up and have a nice slow breakfast. I love starting my mornings slow and steady. It really helps me to ease into the day and be ready for a whole lotta adventures… some of those adventures of the literary kind. This week we’ll be gushing about the ultra endearing and heartbreaking The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. ☀️ It took me a bit to find the words to describe how much I adore this book and how I came to read it at this moment in time when I needed it the most.

The Sun is Also a Star gives us the cool, science/math fangirl Natasha and dreamy and poetic Daniel. They meet accidentally (or do they) the same day that Natasha and her family are getting deported and have a whirlwind day discovering for themselves if things happen for a reason, if logic plays a role in people’s lives, and if it’s possible to fall in love with someone in one day. 💖

Friends, I’m not a big love at first sight type of person. Usually when I read those tropes in books, I kind of roll my eyes and take it with a grain of salt. Somehow Nicola Yoon made a believer out of me and I was flipping through pages totally wrapped in a tale as old as time. In between Natasha and Daniel’s chapters we get insights into the lives of people around them which add critical perspective at the situation and shows how intricately connected we all are. Yoon also gives us little pieces of science stories and historical facts that also add depth and make us understand where these characters come from and how their lives are shaped.

That’s all I want to say for now friends. This book is being made into a movie! I can’t wait to grab a bucket of popcorn and a cherry coke and see Natasha and Daniel on the big screen.📽️🍿

What books made you believe in love again? 💕

Until next time friends.

Read something wonderful and stay curious.

xo, Gisela


Book Review| The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Happy Friday Bookish Babes! Welcome back to another book review!

This week I am reviewing The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai and oh my goodness, friends, I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest. I cried many times throughout the book, but the last fourth of the book I was just crying the WHOLE TIME. I only had that fourth of the book left and so as soon as I got off work, I raced home, ate dinner like Beast from Beauty and the Beast and dove in. I didn’t even take off my makeup or get comfy. I sat on the floor and finished the book with my mascara running down my face. But, please do not let that scare you. We never want to be sad, but sometimes it’s good to release emotion and also good to read and learn about something so devastating that we have no choice but to rage and act.

The Great Believers has two narratives. One narrative takes place in 1980’s Chicago during the Aids Crisis where we meet our protagonist, Yale Tishman. The other  takes place in the present day, 2015 in Paris and follows Fiona, who is trying to find her estranged daughter. Yale is a young gay man living during this time and his friends are dying from this disease that hardly anyone knows anything about. They have to grapple with a homophobic society and government that didn’t put any effort, didn’t do ANYTHING into helping out these people that were not getting the proper treatment or care. Fiona ties into this because the story starts off with her older brother, Nico dying, and Yale, being one his friends, attends the memorial which sets the story off. Years later in the present day Fiona is trying to search for her daughter and still dealing with the aftermath of losing so many loved ones during the AIDS crisis.

Again, this is not a light read but Rebecca Makkai’s writing weaves such beauty into such a heartbreaking and moving story. I know OF the AIDS crisis but honestly, that’s not something they teach in a history class in high school (shameful) so I don’t know that much about that time. Reading this book I learned how terrifying it was being a part of the community and being outcast if you got the disease. How even loving someone was terrifying because you couldn’t give your whole self to the person in fear of this monstrous sickness stalking the country. I wanted to crawl into the story and give Yale a hug so many times. I cried with rage at the horrible things people would say to him and his friends.

Don’t let the smile fool you… I cried hysterically for days.

The book also brings up the thought of, well, how do you move on after such a tragic time? How do you continue to live and keep the memory of loved ones alive, especially when there were those who completely disregarded them. Family members who shunned their sons because they were gay. Jobs that forced people to stay quiet about their lives as to not disturb clients. Fiona wonders, how do you interact with people knowing that somehow we have a hand in the downfall of a generation. There are many things that happen throughout the book, and maybe at first they might not make sense. Or you might not think “What does this art or this old lady or WWI have to do with Yale and Fiona?” Friends, I promise you it all comes full circle in beautiful and tragic ways. We realize that grief, time, and love are not linear. Please read this. But have tissues at the ready.

Stay curious, Gisela

Lit Chicks January Read | One Day In December by Josie Silver 💕

Hi Friends!

And Happy New Year! Welcome to a whole new year full of romance and love and Lit Chicks videos! (Whoop Whoop!) Carla and I are beyond excited for all the romance books we are going to read this year and to share them with you. We have our own ever-growing Romance TBR list but if you have ANY suggestions please send them our way!

For the month of January, our heart was set on reading One Day in December by Josie Silver and oh my goodness… tears, and heartbreak, and happiness, and everything all around! We adore this book so much and we hope that you did too.

Enjoy Friends!

xoxo

Book Review | I Might Regret This by Abbi Jacobson

“Some of the best experiences don’t end with a bang, but rather a dose of reality.”

Total Bad Ass.

Abbi Jacobson words were like looking into my own heart and mind. So sit back friends because I believe I’m about to get personal in true Abbi fashion…

“What do you want with your life?” “How far is it to X city?” “Should I say no to the fries and yes to the salad?” “Will I bump into my ex?” These are all things that go through my mind, probably a lot of other people too, and our main girl Abbi Jacobson. She is one of the producers of the show Broad City and God, I love her. Every page I turned and just kept saying yes and praying that we would meet one day and become fast friends. Obviously, the probability that we meet is probably ZERO chance. Abbi has decided that she will go on a cross country road trip from New York City to Los Angeles to give her time to ponder and be on her own, make her own decision, and grab life by the balls! What we get here are her person ramblings of her time on her own, reflections on the world from Climate Change to Sexual Harassment to keeping in touch with friends.

Extremely relatable, her decision to get in a car and drive West is incited by one of the ultimate universal feelings loss and heartbreak.

“That ultimately I’m admitting that I’m scared of being alone. But aren’t we all? Isn’t that… the main thing? Aren’t we all secretly terrified that we’re not understood, not seen, not loved, not wanted? Okay, great, cleared that up.”

Attempting not to fall into the dark hole that is that chair.

Life is hard friends. We all know it. Obviously, we aren’t immune to the suffering of the world and Abbi makes that extremely clear in her book, but it doesn’t lessen the pain we feel when we’ve put our heart on the line only for it to get completely mangled. Pain happens in degrees but it is still pain. Heartbreak is universal. If not then why are there so many damn poems about it? So many songs about failed love? Abbi makes clear the excruciating agony that comes with losing love after being closed off to vulnerable emotions for so long. It can be life-shattering to feel EVERYTHING and nothing all at once. Like you’ll never feel whole again. When thoughts of him (or her) attack you at a moments notice while you’re picking up lentils at the grocery store and you feel your body lurch to the side just a bit and you become imbalanced because you remember, “They don’t exist in your life anymore.” When you get those texts at 4:45 a.m. and your heart squeezes because you know who you are hoping it is and isn’t and you’re scolding your traitorous hand to stay put and not check the message. You know it’s going to hurt, but we still do it.

Abbi goes through this. She acknowledges this and holds on to it like so many of us do. But it’s okay to feel this. It’s okay to be heartbroken, to feel lost, to feel like you don’t know what direction your heart is going. We can feel all these things and more but we keep going… despite the hurt. You got this darling.

We got this. 💗

Ever the wise words.


Book Review | My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

“…we are hardwired to protect and remain loyal to the people we love. Besides, no one is innocent in this world.”

This cover is everything guys. i mean how could you not want to read this?

My Sister, the Serial Killer is… wow, how do I put it… different but interesting. At first glance, you think you are about to read another standard mystery novel (nothing against them though), but what you get is two deeply complex characters and the way familial ties forever bind us, no matter how much we yearn to be set free.

We are introduced to Korede, the older sister who is deemed responsible, uptight, and unlikable to everyone, and then Ayoola, the younger sister who’s looks and personality are alluring to every man she comes in contact with. There is a problem though. As the title suggests there is a killer in the family and it happens to be Ayoola – not a spoiler alert. She kills her boyfriends and her big sister, neat freak Korede comes to the rescue to clean up the mess… every time.

Although not a traditional murder mystery-ish “girl” book, the pace of the plot had me finishing the book in one day (although I think most people would because it is also a very short book with short chapters). I HAD to keep reading to find out if the sisters would get caught and if the book would end the way I thought it would… in tragedy.

I title this “Cousin takes picture of book crime scene. Gisela becomes a killer.

Friends… I definitely felt for Korede. I’m not a big sister, I’m a little sister in my family, but I could feel the bitterness and hurt every time Korede wished to be free of her family’s antics and drama but was pulled in due to obligation. I wondered the entire time, just like Korede ponders throughout the book, why the hell is Ayoola killing these men? She says it’s self-defense, but is there more to it than that? We catch glimpses of the girls upbringing throughout the story and little by little we understand the why. We also see how the different characters in the book perceive the men scattered throughout the story. Some of the men are pure victims in the women’s eyes, but Ayoola who seems like she doesn’t even really care sees them for who they really are and for what they truly (and sadly) want – just a pretty face. Our girl, Ayoola gives them what they want, but it comes with a price.

I’m not so sure how I felt about the very end of the book, though. I won’t say because it would give things away, but it left me wanting more. The book moved forward very quickly and then… I was like “THAT’S IT?!” Despite that, My Sister, the Serial Killer is still definitely worth the read.

Book Review | Vox by Christina Dalcher

“Think about what you need to do to stay free.”

Just me pretending to not have a voice like the women in the book. A total nightmare.

Usually, the most important thing from a book is that it immediately grabs your attention from the absolute beginning. There are slow burn books that gradually get better and build to a beautiful exciting conclusion. But we most yearn for the books that rapture us into their stories. Vox is one of these books. It was wild and I could have finished it in two nights, but I stopped myself because I wanted to make it last as long as possible.

Here is the link to the synopsis on Goodreads so I do not bore you with the details except for one: in this dystopian version of the United States everything is normal except that women are only allowed to speak 100 words or less. They also aren’t allowed to pretty much do freaking ANYTHING. It’s a complete a total nightmare and every time I turned the page I gave a mental (and many times verbal) WTF?!

I also appreciated that our main characters are scientists. That was beyond cool and interesting and I’ve never read a book with characters like Jean, Lin, Enzo, or Patrick. Not going to lie, I had to look up some things they talked about in the book because I felt like a 1st grader and then suddenly I found myself down the rabbit-hole of the internet learning about neuro-linguistics. Guys, it’s complicated.

The ending of Vox, I have to admit, was the only thing I didn’t really enjoy. Although fast-paced is good for the most part, the ending felt way too rushed. Without spoiling anything, there are deadlines and I completely get that, but I wish the author would have expanded a bit more, changed the storylines for some of the characters too. It felt a bit lacking and I think this is also because we get so much from some of the characters during the first 2/3 of the book that the last part leaves you going… “Wait, what?” Vox wasn’t completely unsatisfying, I wish it would have ended differently.

Either way, still worth the read! The topic is interesting and important and reflects heavily the fears that society has now. Whether you follow politics or not, it’s hard to ignore the injustices that happen in our world. Our main girl Jean tries to do this. She constantly tries to ignore the injustice, plays off the weird politics as a joke, “that would never happen” is thought many times… until it does happen. It reminds me of the quote by Martin Niemöller ” and I believe it summarizes the idea behind the book beautifully:

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/martin-niemoeller-first-they-came-for-the-socialists

It’s important to show some compassion friends. Even if situations don’t directly affect us, they will in the end.

Hopefully the library doesn’t care that I put it on the ground for the sake of a picture.