This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare – Gabourey Sidibe

33550374This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Humor, Coming of Age, Body Image, Mental Health, Celebrity


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Sidibe’s memoir hits hard with self-knowing dispatches on friendship, depression, celebrity, haters, fashion, race, and weight (“If I could just get the world to see me the way I see myself,” she writes, “would my body still be a thing you walked away thinking about?”). Irreverent, hilarious, and untraditional, This Is Just My Face takes its place and fills a void on the shelf of writers from Mindy Kaling to David Sedaris to Lena Dunham. Continue reading

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Year of Yes – Shonda Rhimes

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Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Published: 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Personal Development, Self Help, Feminism, Womanhood, Motherhood, Celebrity


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In this poignant, hilarious and deeply intimate call to arms, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and executive producer of How to Get Away with Murder and Catch, reveals how saying YES changed her life – and how it can change yours too. With three hit shows on television and three children at home, Shonda Rhimes had lots of good reasons to say no when invitations arrived. Hollywood party? No. Speaking engagement? No. Media appearances? No. And to an introvert like Shonda, who describes herself as ‘hugging the walls’ at social events and experiencing panic attacks before press interviews, there was a particular benefit to saying no: nothing new to fear. Then came Thanksgiving 2013, when Shonda’s sister Delorse muttered six little words at her: You never say yes to anything. Profound, impassioned and laugh-out-loud funny, in Year of Yes Shonda Rhimes reveals how saying YES changed – and saved – her life. And inspires readers everywhere to change their own lives with one little word: Yes. Continue reading

The Book of Essie – Meghan MacLean Weir

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The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: June 12th, 2018
Publisher: Knopf
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Fiction, Contemporary, Religion, Abuse, Family Drama


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Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom? Continue reading

So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know – Retta

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So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know by Retta

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: St-Martin’s Press
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Memoir, Celebrity, Humour, Pop Culture


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In So Close to Being the Sh*t, Y’all Don’t Even Know, Parks and Recreation star Retta takes us on her not-so-meteoric rise from roaches to riches (well, rich enough that she can buy $15,000 designer handbags yet scared enough to know she’s always a heartbeat away from ramen with American cheese). Throwing her hard-working Liberian parents for a loop, Retta abandons her plan to attend med school after graduating Duke University to move to Hollywood to star in her own sitcom―like her comedy heroes Lucille Ball and Roseanne. Say what? Word. Turns out Retta might actually be on to something. After winning Comedy Central’s stand-up competition, she should be ready for prime time―but a fear of success derails her biggest dream. Continue reading

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life – Lilly Singh

31202835How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 28th, 2017
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Life Experiences, Motivational & Inspiring, Celebrity Life


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From actress, comedian, and YouTube sensation Lilly Singh (aka ||Superwoman||) comes the definitive guide to being a bawse—a person who exudes confidence, reaches goals, gets hurt efficiently, and smiles genuinely because they’ve fought through it all and made it out the other side. Told in her hilarious, bold voice that’s inspired over nine million fans, and using stories from her own life to illustrate her message, Lilly proves that there are no shortcuts to success. Continue reading

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It – Lauren Graham

36341878In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: April 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Nonfiction, Motivational Speech, Life & Goals, Education & Careers, Experiences


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Advice for graduates and reflections on staying true to yourself from the beloved Gilmore Girls actress and New York Times bestselling author of the memoir Talking as Fast as I Can and the novel Someday, Someday, Maybe. Continue reading

We’re Going to Need More Wine – Gabrielle Union

34884359We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: October 2017
Publisher: Day Street Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Memoir, Essays, Race, Growing Up, Abuse, Celebrity Life, Beauty Standards,  Relationships


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In this moving collection of thought provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards, and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic, and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading