I haven't picked up a David Sedaris book in ages and I'm soo glad I did, this was legit laugh out loud funny, irreverent, and at times somber. I didn't listen to the audiobook but I could still her his unique voice in my head as I read which only added to the hilarity. His short essays spanned from the seriousness of his sister's suicide and mother's alcoholism to a deformed boxed turtle and shopping for "unique items" in Japan. His family is uproarious and odd and I feel like we should be best friends. I love his sister Amy (who gets mentioned frequently) and everyone else sounds like jolly good fun. I know I'll laugh just as much when I read this the second time around some day. A wonderful new addition to the Sedaris collection, such a talented humorous author.
Sometimes I steer away from Holocaust fiction because there is so much of it and sometimes it's too much to take in. It's like reading misery porn and at a certain point you have to take a breather. The Red Ribbon is a young adult novel that focuses on a little known bit of Auschwitz lore, the sewing studio. The commandant's wife is a fashionista and she decides that she may as well put some prisoners to work crafting her stylish new outfits and tailoring her clothes. The officer's wives get jealous and soon she opens it up to them and expands the workshop. Fourteen year old, Ella lucks into working in the studio and tries to lose herself in her work so she doesn't have to observe the hellhole around her. At least she's making pretty things even if they are going to monsters. Her only other distraction is a quirky young girl named Rose who spins the most delightful stories and always seems to have her head in the clouds. Although annoyed by her at first, Ella soon realizes how important it is to have hope and keep dreaming and they soon become inseparable. Although not explicitly graphic, this book doesn't shy away from hard truths either, it's a nice middle ground that young adults can read without being "too horrified" while still being informed about atrocities.
I just can't hate this series. Try as I might to despise Amish fiction, this adorable, quirky, and wholesome little Amish fairy tale series has warmed my cold black heart. I just love it! Ella is the second in the series and is loosely based on the Cinderella fairy tale. Complete with the cruel stepmother, rude stepsisters, and playful mice it has a few interesting takes as well, instead of a glass slipper there is a pie contest, there is "magic," the fairy godmother is a kind lady in the congregation, etc. It's disgustingly wholesome and clean and I still loved it. I can't wait to read Sadie, the Amish take on Snow White and I hope there are more in this series!
I don't normally read books on theology but this was on The Great American Read list so I HAD to get to it. It wasn't an awful read, I loved the narrator who really made the whole sad story sound homey and comforting. Mackenzie Phillips isn't in a great place in his life. After the brutal disappearance of his daughter and the strain it placed on his family, he's hardly equipped to deal with religion, he's just going through the motions. One day he receives an odd piece of mail, a note from God telling him to meet him at the shack (the last known place his daughter was at), and against his better judgement he actually goes. What transpires there in that shack changes his outlook on life, his attitude, and his spirituality. This book questions your beliefs on God, Jesus, the Holy Trinity, the afterlife, the what ifs and many other questions, especially the classic; "why do bad things happen to good people?"
I LOVED Mike Mullin's Ashfall series so I knew I had to check out this stand alone teen novel, especially since it was in such a different direction from his last series! One thing they have in common is strong male leads that are fast thinkers, and are sarcastic, witty, head strong, and resilient. Jake finds himself in an impossible situation, he witnessed an act of terrorism and now the terrorists are out to get him, only nobody believes him (except for his super wealthy, super awesome girlfriend who mostly believes him). He's trying to stay one step ahead of them, but it's practically impossible to do when you're a broke teenage boy in Indianapolis with only a bike to your name. Alternating with his fast paced story for survival is Betsy's story. Betsy is a terrorist, she' trying to make her dad proud and if that means she has to kill Jake then so be it. Alternating perspectives really help flesh out the story and spell out the "whys?" of the story. Well written but super super unbelievable. No teenager is outsmarting terrorists like this, it was a little over the top. If you can suspend belief then you will love this novel, if not? You should probably pass on it.
I haven't read a romantic comedy in a while so I was excited to check out The Kiss Quotient because it had been receiving a lot of buzz! A successful businesswoman obsessed with her job in economics becomes frustrated and scared at the prospect of dating and sex. It doesn't help that her mother keeps pressuring her to find a man and hinting that she ants grandchildren. Stella decides that her Asperger's is getting in the way of relationships and she vows to get more practice so she can find a man and not scare him away. She decides to hire a male escort to show her the ropes in the bedroom and to give her tips on dating and small talk. To each of their surprise they hit it off perfectly, and soon her "training" is stretching out, it's almost as if they're really dating. She's all in, but her sexy male escort has some skeletons in his closet. Pretty sexy and mildly explicit, fun, and fresh. A nice beach read.
One of the most unique teen fantasy novels I've read in a while. Three triplets with special abilities are born to the queen and on their 16th birthday they must fight to the death to see which will become the future ruler. The three sisters are raised apart from each other by people who share their talents; Mirabella is an elemental and seemingly the strongest of the sisters, Arisnoe is a naturalist and has so far been unable to develop any of her talents, same goes for Katherine, the poisoner, she too is helpless at her craft. Their time is running short, they must soon face each other and see what damage their talents can afflict, wonderfully written with one hell of an ending. I'll definitely be reading the rest of the series!