Book Review: Everything and Nothing by Ava Ceccotti

In Everything and Nothing, Ava touches on quite literally every aspect of her last few years as a teenager. Her experiences are laced with feelings ranging from euphoria, nerves, self-deprecation, and acceptance of mental illness through personification. She writes about a fondness for cyber love and briefly introduces the reader to her infatuation with a girl named Kochi. Highlighted in the light read are heavy subjects such as the importance of energy, healing intuition, acting on positive thoughts, and enabling daydreams to last for hours.

As you can tell, the cover of this book is very minimalist. You have to look to the spine for the title. The contents of this 100ish-paged paperback are just as scant and gentle. This makes it approachable.

I enjoyed this creative little book that reads like flash fiction. But it is not fiction. Font is played with, warped, found in the margins. It feels like poetry. The book itself is an exploration of making a book:

“Now, I love videography and cinematography and shit, but no, I don’t even have Final Cut Pro (I can’t afford it right now, I need to buy an ISBN first).”

Indeed, to make a book all you really need are some thoughts and an ISBN. This is how books can be. I much prefer such honesty to the ghostwritten crap celebrities and publishers produce for the typical memoir. I loved the realness. There was a particular joy in getting to look into someone else’s life and train of thought. It reminded me of my own teenage years and sometimes I just wanted to hug her. Like a diary, Ceccotti will be able to look back on this when she’s older and remember her past self.

Unlike a diary, however, this snapshot of her life is for an audience–self-conscious as much as much as her book is self-aware. The book knows it is a book–telling the reader at times to be “aware, I’m gonna make this paragraph as fast as her Adidas-clad feet were.” You see the book struggle to form itself, but that is half of the fun. At times I was left feeling like this girl needs a blog, but that is unfair to her dabbling. She’s playing with medium and I probably wouldn’t read a blog like this. I would, however, read a book. Clearly.

Again, it was fun to have something so simple to read–almost like taking a deep breath or recalling a memory. I didn’t have to think too hard or work too hard. I love that this is what some books can be.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. Read my review policy in the tabs above.
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TBR: Literature® by Guillermo Stitch

We don’t know exactly when Literature® takes place and we don’t know exactly where. All we know is that Philip Marlowe would fit right in.

We don’t get Marlowe though. We get Billy Stringer. And Billy is on nobody’s trail.

He’s the prey.

The day hasn’t begun very well for Billy. He just messed up his first big assignment, he’s definitely going to be late for work, his girlfriend won’t get back to him and, for reasons she has something to do with, he’s dressed like a clown.

Also, he’s pretty sure someone is going to kill him today. But then, that’s an occupational hazard, when you’re a terrorist.

He’s a bookworm too, which wouldn’t be a problem–or particularly interesting–except that in Billy’s world, fiction is banned. Reading it is what makes him an outlaw.

Why? Because people need to get to work.

It’s fight or flight time for Billy and he’s made his choice. But he has to see Jane, even if it’s for the last time–to explain it all to her, before she finds out what he has become. That means staying alive for a little while.

And the odds are against him.

“Literature® speaks to the industrialisation of art, and also to the link between alienation and radicalisation in consumerist societies. Mainly though, it speaks to our need for great stories, by providing one. The conceptual is never allowed to overpower the human. This is a love story. There is heart here, and heartache. And, crucially, a chase scene.”

 

You had me at ®.

View on Amazon and Goodreads.

 

TBR: The Pre-programming (Circo del Herrero series, #2)

[The crippled god of metallurgy, fire, and alchemy has many names and many faces—sometimes Hephaestus, Ptah, or Vulcan. He changes to suit his needs. And just like his names, his creations have gone through countless revisions. This time, he’s finally onto something—his Automata have turned the heads of other gods. They’ve noticed their pre-programmed potential. There’s a reason Vulcan didn’t scrap the Automata—a reason he left them in the care of humans all this time. They were just the beta testers for his most intricate windup toy yet…

Vulcan’s ancient Automata find their purpose rebooted in the second installment of the CIRCO DEL HERRERO/THE BLACKSMITH’S CIRCUS series. Their immortal human Masters will drop like flies—superfluous in the next round as the gods shuffle in a new deck of fateful cards. The Masters can choose how and when, but they will all die to free the Automata of their earthly chains. Odys and his Automaton, Maud, struggle to protect his twin sister from the plotting of his dual-bodied adversaries. But his sister, Odissa, finds herself a willing participant in The Blacksmith’s latest exhibition—could she be the missing cog to the god’s tightly wound machine all along?

In this thrilling sequel to THE AUTOMATION, the Narrator and Editor drag readers deeper into the dark history and even darker future of the Automata. When the subterranean god emerges with his postlapsarian blueprint, so will the truth about B.L.A. and G.B. Gabbler. Ideal for fans of Scott Hawkin’s The Library at Mount Char, Jo Walton’s The Just City, and all the wayto Homer’s The Odyssey, THE PRE-PROGRAMMING is a literary outrage that dares you to keep reading between the lines and the footnotes.]

Coming out this year?

View more on Goodreads.

TBR: Planet Lazy (Funny Sci Fi) by Ryan Davis

What is Planet Lazy? None of the scientists have heard of it, and there’s no record of it ever existing. Yet people swear that they’ve been there. One day, they vanished from Earth and wound up in a place where they could have anything they’d ever wanted without having to, you know, do anything.

Join the fat, socially awkward, will-probably-die-a-virgin Karturian as he navigates our strange universe of starving giants, nit-picky zombies, talking cats, a whole planet of women who have never seen a man before, and much much more on his voyage to the mythical Planet Lazy.

– What is the answer to 7 + 7 ÷ 7 + 7 x 7 – 7 = ?
– How do you hide cigarette smoke from your parents?
– Does Cheese Whiz go better with pancakes or waffles?
– What are cats really thinking?
– How do you become the richest being in the universe by doing half of the work most people do and utilizing Facebook likes?
– What do you do if you’re out in space and really have to use the bathroom?

…just a few of life’s more pertinent questions that Karturian hopes to answer on his journey.

Hilarious, surreal, unpredictable, fun, and strangely moving at times, this social satire is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets Kilgore Trout and Venus on the Half-ShellPlanet Lazy throws modern-day issues and news topics into a comedic food processor and spits them out into a scrumptious sci-fi pâté. The topics include eating disorders, low birthrate, cell cryopreservation, patriarchal and matriarchal societies, intercultural relationships, global warming, unethical technological and medical advancements, volunteering in impoverished nations, free-range farming, the robot apocalypse, lazy entrepreneurship, and everyone’s obsession with cats!

 

No record of it ever existing? But there’s a whole book about it!

View more on Goodreads.

TBR: Maharishi & Me: Seeking Enlightenment with the Beatles’ Guru by Susan Shumsky

Susan Shumsky is a successful author in the human potential field. But in the 1970s, in India, the Swiss Alps, and elsewhere, she served on the personal staff of the most famous guru of the 20th century―Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Maharishi died in 2008 at age ninety, but his influence endures through the spiritual movement he founded: TM (Transcendental Meditation). Other books have been written about him, but this spellbinding page-turner offers a rare insider’s view of life with the guru, including the time the Beatles studied at his feet in Rishikesh, India, and wrote dozens of songs under his influence.

Both inspirational and disturbing, Maharishi & Me illuminates Susan’s two decades living in Maharishi’s ashrams, where she grew from a painfully shy teenage seeker into a spiritually aware teacher and author. It features behind-the-scenes, myth-busting stories, and over 100 photos of Maharishi and his celebrity disciples (the Beatles, Deepak Chopra, Mia Farrow, Beach Boys, and many more).

Susan’s candid, honest portrayal draws back the curtain on her shattering, extreme emotional seesaws of heaven and hell at her guru’s hands. This compelling, haunting memoir will continue to challenge readers long after they turn its last page. It dismantles all previous beliefs about the spiritual path and how spiritual masters are supposed to behave.

Susan shares: “Merely by being in his presence, we disciples entered an utterly timeless place and rapturous feeling, and, at the same time, realized the utter futility and insanity of the mundane world.”

Susan’s heartfelt masterwork blends her experiences, exacting research, artistically descriptive and humorous writing, emotional intelligence, and intensely personal inner exploration into a feast for thought and contemplation. Neither starry-eyed nor antagonistic, it captures, from a balanced viewpoint, the essence of life in an ashram.

 

“Human potential field.” Groovy.

View more on goodreads.

TBR: Pendulum Heroes: Pendulum Heroes Book One by James Beamon

Melvin Morrow has become a barbarian warrior maiden. Will he be able to escape this new, dangerous world and the chainmail bikini he foolishly chose as his armor or will he and his friends be stuck living their lives as their game avatars?

Melvin’s a teenage boy not used to being ogled or the real world consequences of wearing a steel bikini. But the real world has shifted… him, his friends Jason and Rich, and his big brother Mike are stuck in character, in a place where danger doesn’t lurk because it prefers to boldly stride out in the open.

Mages import game players like Melvin via the Rift Pendulum. The reason: the work’s suicidal and pendulum heroes are insanely powerful. Usually. Melvin and his friends can be, too, if they’re in the right emotional state to trigger into character. Melvin’s a one-man, uh, one warrior maiden army when he’s angry but anger’s hard to find with all

that mortal danger striding around everywhere.

The road back home’s at the end of a suicidal quest. Melvin better find something to rage about… because being genre-savvy only gets you so far.

Pendulum Heroes, James Beamon’s debut novel, is an adrenaline fueled adventure for anyone who’s spent a little too much time on the character creation screen instead of playing the game, those of us who have thought just how godmode we’d be with mage power, but mostly it’s for all of us who have wondered who the heck installs a portal to another world in a wardrobe. Fans of Ernest Cline and Scott Meyer better be prepared to fall in love with a new series.

 

Sounds a little like Sword Art Online.

View on Amazon.

TBR: Bright Blood by Aariel Portera

Don’t go into the woods…

Soleil is about to turn eighteen and enter society, but that is the last thing on her mind right now. She has been having terrifying visions that point her again and again to the woods and the evil creatures that live there.

Meanwhile, her first experience with romance has her head spinning. At first, she can’t stand Taras and his shameless flirting, but when she realizes there is more to him than meets the eye, she can’t help but be drawn to him, even though it is forbidden.

As her aristocratic world comes crashing down around her with death and tragedy, Soleil must find the strength to fight for those she loves or lose everything.

Filled with coming of age romance and gothic horror, this suspenseful Young Adult novel is set in 1870s France keeps a fast-paced and seductive rhythm that pulls the reader to a terrifying and satisfying ending.

I wanna know why Taras is forbidden.

View more on Goodreads. 

TBR: The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren

Came out of the closet by accident? Check.
Sent off to a pray-away-the-gay school? Miserable check.
Shenanigans ensued? Mega-quadruple check.

Blaize Trales’s world falls apart when he’s dragged to Sanctuary Preparatory Academy, a boarding school that claims to fix gay teens. The place sucks so much they even serve food like “Cleansing Corn.” Blaize’s misguided parents eat it up and hand him over for brainwashing.

But things at Sanctuary aren’t what they appear. Blaize soon discovers the school’s antics are all a lie. They’re also at war with an ancient enemy. Between surviving bullies, rescuing students from mysterious attacks, and passing algebra, Blaize’s life is going to get out-of-control crazy.

And freaking dangerous.

Lucky for Blaize, he wields the ultimate weapon—being gay. And he’s pretty good at it.

Sounds like Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters but with real, attainable powers. I really want to read this book.

TBR: Morgan Le Fay: Small Things and Great (Fata Morgana: Child Of The Moon Book 1) by Jo-Anne Blanco

THE CHILD FATED TO SHAPE DESTINIES … Young Morgan lives in Tintagel Castle by the sea, loved and sheltered by her noble parents. An extraordinarily clever child, extremely sharp-eyed, exceptionally curious. A little girl unlike other children.

One stormy night a ship is wrecked off the coast, bringing with it new friends – Fleur the princess from a far-off land, Safir the stowaway with a secret, and the mysterious twins Merlin and Ganieda. Morgan’s visions of another world awaken her to the realisation that she has abilities others do not possess.

Not long afterwards, Morgan encounters Diana, the Moon Huntress, who charges her with a dangerous mission. Morgan must enter the secret realms of warring tribes of faeries who vie for the souls of lost children. There she must summon her magic to fight ancient and malevolent powers, to rescue young souls destined to be reborn …

There a lot of hybrid mythologies going on here…

View more on Goodreads.