Book Review: The Smartphone Photography Guide by Peter Cope

Title: The Smartphone Photography Guide
Author: Peter Cope
Publisher: Carlton Books
Length: 256 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Nonfiction
Rating: 2 Folded Pages

Thanks to our smartphones, we’ve all become camera-carrying photographers, able to snap a photo whenever and wherever we want. But how can we realize the full potential of this powerful tool? Complete with “Pro Tips,” “Try This” panels, jargon-buster explanations of technical terms, and advice on video settings, this smart guide will help you take, create, manipulate, and share your phone images like an expert.

I saw this at a bookfair my work had to help benefit a charity. I bought it so long ago that I can’t really remember what charity it was but I wanted to support it and this seemed interesting. I’m going to be real (as per usual, honestly) and say that I think this book was written for people who didn’t grow up with technology.

At the ripe age of 22, this book was boring and didn’t really tell me much that I didn’t already know. The majority of this book is spent explaining how photography and editing apps on phones work and how a phone camera differs from a regular camera. I was so bored most of the time.

The section of the book focusing on getting good angles and understanding how to photograph were plagued with the same details about smartphones and apps that were stated in the first half of the book so it was also very redundant.

Some parts of the writing felt downright condescending in the way it was worded or what was said. My least favorite thing about nonfiction books is the tendency for the writing to feel like the author is talking down to me and this book did that a lot.

I didn’t enjoy this book and I didn’t learn anything from it. However, if you aren’t very familiar with phones or apps this book might be for you.

Fantasy, romance, young adult

Book Review: The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening by L. J. Smith

vamp diaries

Title: Vampire Diaries: The Awakening
Author: L. J. Smith
Publisher: HarperTeen
Length: 324 pages, Kindle Book
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Rating: 2 Folded Pages

A deadly love triangle
Elena: beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants.
Stefan: brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good.
Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him.
Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . . who will she choose?

I’m pretty sure the only reason I’m giving this two folded pages is because I actually finished it instead of DNFing it. I understand why I loved this series when it first came out (the same way I understand why I loved Twilight when it came out) but now I can barely stomach it.

The worst part of it honestly is the Instalove. I could handle just about anything else if it wasn’t for the instalove. It’s just not fun or cute. It’s creepy and not what girl’s expectations for meeting boys should be like.

Aside from that Elena’s personality is extremely vapid and unreal. I kept rolling my eyes as I was reading both diary and inner dialogue. It almost physically hurt to read it and Stefan had no personality what-so-ever aside from man pain.

My younger self loved basically anything to do with vampire romance and I have no shame in that. But needless to say I will not be devouring the rest of these books like I did when I was 12.

graphic novel, historical fiction, young adult

Graphic Novel Review: Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang


Title: Boxers & Saints
Author: Gene Luen Yang
Publisher: First Second
Length: 512 pages (between both books), Paperback
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 2 Folded Pages

In two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grass-roots rebellion is successful.
But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

I didn’t much care for these to be honest. I really liked the premise. Especially since it tells two different sides of the same event, but for the most part it really fell flat. It was boring and at times overly wordy for a graphic novel.

I definitely understand the importance of these books. They show Chinese culture and allow readers a look into Chinese characters and I love this fact but I couldn’t get into them. The only reason I finished them is because graphic novels don’t take very long to read.

Little Bao annoyed me most times. His character didn’t seem to have any cohesiveness and he tended to do things I thought varied greatly with his established personality. I enjoyed Four-Girl and if I had choose I definitely liked Saints better than Boxers.

Four-Girl’s reasoning behind what she does and how she does it are more sound and believable. She was young and her family treated her awfully. Of course she found solace in a religion that forgave her “sins” even if they weren’t really hers.

Also her age made Four-Girl’s actions much more believable. Though I think Bao’s age was supposed to about the same as hers. I can’t honestly say if that’s true or not because I have no sense of the timeline in Boxers. Saints was a lot easier to follow in that aspect as well.

Honestly, these books are just not for me. I’m going to try to read Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese to see if I just don’t like these or if maybe I just won’t happen to be a fan of his. I want to try more because I think it might have just been the plot and how it was executed that I didn’t like.