Comic: The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Title: The Prince and the Dressmaker
Author: Jen Wang
Published: February 13, 2018
Type: E-Book
Language: English
Goodreads Summary:Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

Oh how I love a good LGBTQIA+ story with a cute, familiar art style to boot. The style reminds me of the animation series, Steven Universe and my childhood images like those on works of Roald Dahl. It’s a fun, colorful comic that transitions smoothly making it easy to follow for any age.

While I don’t have many young children and teens around me my first instinct was: I want youths to read this! The comic is your classic coming-of-age story between choosing to follow expectations or choosing what your heart believes and what bookworm doesn’t like one of those?

Sebastian is the prince of Belgium just turned sixteen who begins a search for his future wife at the insistence of his parents. is living a double life between the stereotypical prince and his female persona named after Frances’ favorite fictional character. Frances is a seamstress working under a local seaming company when she is assigned to create a last minute dress for a client’s daughter. To the surprise of everyone, and myself, Frances creates a bold attire that the client’s daughter shows off at the prince’s ball. This is how Frances gets acknowledged by a mysterious patron who hires her the next day., and then… well, you’ll have to read for yourself, hehe.

My favorite is the love shared between Prince Sebastian and Frances. It’s love in the purest form, and because it doesn’t try to deflect that with too many obstacles I think it’s fitting for children to follow along. I appreciate how Sebastian’s interest in dressing up in women’s wasn’t explicitly defined as being LGBTQIA+. It adds the normalcy LGBTQIA+ communities have been discussing and calling for and this proves our literature is changing towards that direction, one literature at a time.

The only quirk I have about the story is that it’s set during , it uses some modern dialogue. This isn’t so bad though, it’s only a few instances. Other than that, this comic is my children recommends for 2019 and gets a five out of five from me. So, if you love fashion design, kick ass parents, and a good love story I think this is surely up your alley.

You Are a Badass Everyday by Jen Sincero

Title: You Are a Badass Everyday
Author: Jen Sincero
Published: December 4, 2018
Type: Physical Book
Language: English
Goodreads Summary: For anyone who has ever had trouble staying motivated while trailblazing towards badassery, You Are a Badass Every Day is the companion to keep you fresh, grateful, mighty, and driven. In one hundred exercises, reflections, and cues that you can use to immediately realign your mind and keep your focus unwavering, this guide will show you how to keep the breakthroughs catalyzed by Sincero’s iconic books You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money going. Owning your power to ascend to badassery is just the first step in creating the life you deserve–You Are A Badass Every Day is the accountability buddy you can keep in your back pocket to power through obstacles, overcome the doubts that hold you back from greatness, and keep the fires of determination roaring while you reach your goals.

If you’re a fan of Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass series then You Are a Badass Everyday would make one small, but powerful edition to your collection.

As the title suggests it’s made up of little tidbits and analogies that are meant to tackle the everyday. Jen herself suggests opening up her book whenever you feel you need that motivation, and whether or not that’s a toot at praising her own book I’ve gotta agree. It covers things from focus to affirmations you should say through the week. You can think of it as a summary of everything she’s written to-date.

Personally, I couldn’t read the whole one hundred pages of You Are a Badass Everyday in a single day. I needed to put it down, let the information sink into the deep recesses of my mind, and pick up where I left off the next day. Each section was that valuable to me that I had make them bite-sized, so I finished the book with a strong sense of self and confidence. So much so I wanted to buy a physical copy for myself! (I had borrowed the book from the library.)

What you’ll realize is that there aren’t chapters, just one or two pages that may or may not fill up the whole page. Again, it makes for an easy flip-and-read. No pressure. Between some sections are one or two lines of wisdom or affirmation. One of my favorites was:

If you run from your fears,

they will follow you.

If you run straight at your fears,

they will get the hell out of your way. Fears hate it when you do that.

All in all, I recommend adding this to your self-help and motivation list of books. I personally started with You Are a Badass at Making Money a year ago as a recommendation from a friend, they sent me a free trial to Audible and that’s how I started my venture into self-help concepts as well as audiobooks, and I haven’t looked back since! It’s helped me enjoy literature in a whole new dimension and I like it! I also recommend listening to one of her books in audio form because she reads her own texts, you get a feel for what she’s trying to say and how, making a connection between her thoughts and what I call, her “realness.”

This book gets five out of five stars from me, that’s for sure.

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, Emily Woo Zeller

Title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Author: Marie Kondo, Emily Woo Zeller (translator)
Published: January 15, 2011
Type: Audiobook
Language: English (translated)
Goodreads Summary: This best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.

Japanese organizational consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly declutter your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Whereas most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, the KonMari Method’s category-by-category, all-at-once prescription leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have been repeat customers (and she still has a three-month waiting list of new customers!). With detailed guidance for every type of item in the household, this quirky little manual from Japan’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help readers clear their clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home–and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

Thoughts on Tidying Before the Book

My room is a constant mess. I’ve yet to meet someone who’s even remotely happy about how their space is put together. Whether it’s a room, an apartment, or a whole house it just doesn’t seem like anyone has ever had success in cleaning. What’s surprising is how we’ve normalized negative emotions with the task of cleaning, and that’s what Marie Kondo pointed out to me in this book.

Let’s think about it for a bit. In my pool of family and friends we all spend eight to ten hours of the day at a job few of us like. Personally, I spend an hour and twenty minutes on commuting a day which is six hours and forty minutes in a week, and while I spend that on audio-books the concentration I use on it while driving does tire me out. If you add in the amount of people I must come face-to-face with I’m exhausted by the time I come home; I don’t want to do anything. I’ll look at my mess and tell myself I need to do it soon, but the process of choosing what I need and don’t need becomes muddled. I’m not alone. I’ve talked to a few people about this and our habit to hoard isn’t unusual. For one reason or another: guilt, love, obsession, obligation, forgotten; we become attached to these material things, and we simply don’t know how to handle it. That’s where the author-coined, KonMari method, comes in.

After the Book

I don’t remember when I first heard about Kondo’s method. Maybe you’ve come across the shirt folding method from Japan; you pinch point a and b and lift up the shirt and fold, turn and done. I think that piqued my interest first, and I think that’s how I came across one of her presentations on YouTube and being thoroughly impressed by her take on tidying.

In her book she divulges that she’s been on the hunt for the right cleaning method since middle school. I mean, how many of us think we want to clean at that age? Not many so you know she’s going to be unique.

Right off the bat, I can tell you Kondo’s book lives up to its reputation.

She talks about her history for the first parts of the book to lay the foundation of her trial and errors. This in itself was a lesson of growth because tidying and keeping your environment tidy is a mindset; it has to dig deep to be successful.

I found myself frequently relaying things back into my own life: what I’d done, what I can improve, and if there’s something new I could learn. I started to see it more as an overall self-help book than just about tidying.

She repeats that one should take each item and holding it in your hands. You must thank it for all it’s done for you and that you’ve learned more about yourself and your surroundings because of it. This actually works for me as someone who keeps gifts and items I don’t use because I keep things out of this guilt.

Her recommended process goes from large to small. She suggests starting with dividing things into clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and items sentimental value. In this order you can start to discard everything you no longer need. When you’re left with all the things that you value and use you sort them and give them a home, the place it will return to every time it’s met it’s use or purpose. Now I’m making this as simple as can be, but there’s something about reading and coming to terms with the book itself.

My biggest take away is: a clean room is a clear mind, a concept I’ve been going against for far too long. It was only a matter of time before I’d come around to it I guess.

I really do recommend this book.

Now, I leave you with a simple, but powerful quote about tidying and life from Kondo herself:

There are three approaches we can take towards our possessions: face them now, face them some time, or avoid them until the day we die. The choice is ours.

*For any disconnect I started this post in September and finished in November.*

Book Review: Sad Girls by Lang Leav

Title: Sad Girls
Author: Lang Leav
Published: May 30, 2017
Pages: 362
Language: English
Goodreads summary: Your first love isn’t the first person you give your heart to—it’s the first one who breaks it.

School is almost out for Audrey, but the panic attacks are just beginning. Because Audrey told a lie and now her classmate, Ana, is dead. Just as her world begins to spin out of control, Audrey meets the enigmatic Rad—the boy who could turn it all around. But will their ill-timed romance drive her closer to the edge?


Possible spoilers ahead!

I was looking forward to reading this so, I requested it from my library as soon as possible and finished it in a couple of days. Altogether it only took me a couple of hours, not including breaks, to finish.

I wanted so much for this book to be something raw and relatable like Lang’s proses, but I can’t deny I had a suspicion that wouldn’t end up being the case, that I was asking for too much. Apparently, I was. I kept in mind Sad Girls was Lang Leav’s first novel, but even that was enough to keep me from feeling disappointed and being critical.

Character development is lacking.

The main character Audrey is a well-off teenager and an only child, her biggest problem is her mother, they’re relationships has been strained since her mother left her and her father only to come back some years before the novel takes place. A reasonable conflict that most teens can relate to when it comes to their parents, but this plot point is only emphasized in the first half of the book, set up to seem like something could happen, but it never does. She also has an angst-based relationship with one of her two closest friends who spirals into drugs and there’s no real closure; her friend just comes back one day and is like, I’m sober and getting married, I’d like to invite you. I even have a headache just recalling this tidbit. Audrey has some amazing stroke of luck in landing an internship right out of high school at a magazine publisher simply because she knew the nephew of the Editor-in-Chief. Well, okay, but if I’m a prominent magazine with numerous rewards I’m not going to go off only on my nephew’s word; it’s unrealistic. I don’t get the sense of her doom. I don’t see the conflict she will have to overcome, making it difficult to choose what information to keep and what’s simply in passing.

None of the other characters truly left an impression on me. I had to make note of who was who with one-liners like: the “perfect” character, the “manager” friend, or the “most interesting” friend for a temporary love rival trope, but let’s throw him away for the old flame trope.

The plot was so vague my eyes could’ve rolled into the back of my head from how many times I unfocused from the book.

Going off the lack of character development I didn’t get any feeling of progression. I just couldn’t. I was being told more than I was being shown. So, point A was suddenly point C and I would miss point D and E if I wasn’t pausing to think. Many time I thought I could be more lenient and chalk it up to being Lang’s first attempt at a novel, but I think her writing is “stuck” in prose that it’ll be a one-eighty to change her style in her next novel, if she chooses to do so.

Name dropping hurts my soul (& setting)

At first I gave the brand dropping a pass thinking it was the beginning of the story and that’s where it’s always rough to step into a new world. I hate to say it ruined the rest of the book for not naming dropping other things, like social media. All of which is rarely mentioned which is strange because Audrey and her friends are young adults. Instead, this spoils to taste in my mouth about how they all communicate with a phone and much less with texting. Sure, not everyone has to use texting or Twitter, but you’d think if your drug addicted friend is missing some element of trying to find their Facebook account to see how they are would play a hand in your search. There was just- a lot of questions I had, and all of them curbed my enjoyment of the book. I had nothing but suburban New Zealand for a setting. I had to rely on cliches to make up the rest of the setting cause all I had were names I didn’t want to be bothered to look up to see if they were real.

All in all, I don’t recommend this book. It was a disappointment. My final verdict is that it’s easy-reading, but if you’re looking for substance you’re better off moving on. This book read as an indie movie plays; everything happens just to happen. I’ve put more time into this review than I wanted to so if it lacks anything it lacks anything.

Book Review: Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav

Title: Sea of Strangers
Author: Lang Leav
Published: January 9, 2018
Pages: 224
Language: English
Goodreads summary: Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav picks up from her previous international bestselling books including Love & MisadventureLullabies, and The Universe of Us, and sets sail for a grand new adventure.

This completely original collection of poetry and prose will not only delight her avid fans but is sure to capture the imagination of a whole new audience. With the turn of every page, Sea of Strangers invites you to go beyond love and loss to explore themes of self-discovery and empowerment as you navigate your way around the human heart.


Before I dive into this let me say that I never had any intentions to read this book. I found myself looking at it in Barnes and Nobles and since I was going to be there for a while, why not? I don’t normally read poetry because of how personal it can be, but because I’ve enjoyed some of Lang’s prose on her instagram I decided it couldn’t hurt to see other pieces.

What made me gravitate towards the book in the first place was the cover. The title is printed in a soft, coral pink over a denim blue backdrop which strangely worked. Usually, these two colors would clash, but here they created a comfortable ambiance; it feels almost nostalgic to what I’d consider an 80’s color scheme. Also depicted on the cover is a young woman, alluding to the protagonist and possibly a stand-in of Lang herself. I felt particularly drawn in because of her short bob cut and Asian-inspired fashion so, I also felt it was me on the cover. It wasn’t hard to find out the artist of said picture is GG, The cover itself was soft, a kind of matte texture that made it soothing to touch, nothing like the slippery gloss cover books tend to opt for.

As for the book itself it’s a collection of prose and poetry so, I was able to finish it in one sitting. The writing was not difficult to read and each piece except for one only took up a single page, specifically the right hand side. The one that took up two pages were printed facing each other. Lang doesn’t make any extreme choices in formatting, they’re very short paragraphs or a string of few lines. I appreciated that because poetry being visual is rarely an interest for me. The themes that run throughout are love, heartbreak, and relationships with the individual and the world. The few that stuck out to me were the ones that Lang has personally posted on her Instagram such as Once in Love:

I don’t think you need to be in love to write. But you had to have been once.

It’s these simple lines that strike a chord with you because it’s so vague it can apply to almost anyone anywhere in their lifetime.  I connected with Once in Love because I’ve been wondering how I can create worlds and characters when I myself am cooped up inside my head. Sure, I can write it, but to write it without truly feeling it once seems ridiculous. It feels fake, and that’s how I read this two-line prose.

Lang’s writing ultimately speaks to the current generation of artists, poets and writers. We grapple with this idea of uniqueness, but struggle to reflect it when the answer, like Lang’s writing, is simple. Struggle, struggle some more, but in the end when you’re tired and done, you find being yourself is the best course.

From me, I give this collection a 5 out of 5. I can appreciate the collection’s ability to make me reflect often, but it can get mentally tiring so the only thing I have to say is read it with breaks. Maybe that’s how you should read poetry and prose collections, but again, I’m a novel reader.

You can purchase the collect Sea of Strangers on Lang Leav’s site.