Monday, October 17, 2016

The Wonder

Donoghue, Emma. The Wonder. 10 CDs. unabridged. 13 hrs. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478911753. $30. 

Donoghue (bestselling author of Room), weaves a magnificent and haunting tale of a young Irish Catholic girl fasting herself to death and a nurse determined to save her. Eleven year old Anna O'Donnell is purported to have eaten nothing for months; Lib Wright an English nurse, is sent over to a small Irish village to see if the rumors are true and the girl is truly subsisting on nothing. Refusing to believe, Lib is determined to end the hoax within days but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the "living wonder." Putting her skepticism aside Lib is determined to help the girl, regardless if she is a fraud or not. There is something ominous about a young girl determined to waste away and Lib is convinced that something is amiss. This thriller starts off with a slow burn but quickly picks up speed as the relationship between Lib and Anna deepens and it becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems. The story comes alive with an impeccable narration by Kate Lock, who expertly narrates both English and Irish accents to such an extent that it's easy to get lost in the story. Another great read from a seasoned author, an absolute must listen!  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

The Girls

A fascinating read that transports the reader back to 1969. Very reminiscent of the Manson murders this book shows how one young girl's naivety and thirst for adventure leads to her becoming involved in a cult. Russell is an enigmatic man and the women and children in his midst look up to him with something like hero worship. Showing a disdain for worldly goods and money the group travels around in a black school bus and dumpster dives for food and supplies. Fourteen year old Evie happens upon the group by chance and becomes smitten with the girls carefree and easy lifestyle. The ranch where Russell and his groupies stay isn't far from her house so she stays there most of the summer and gets caught up in free love, drugs, and communal living. Quickly emboldened by this new radical lifestyle, Evie has a hard time discerning right and wrong, how far is she willing to go down the road to violence? Looking back on her experience as a hardened adult she is able to see how the summer when she was fourteen shaped her into the women she became. A fascinating read.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


An enlightening look at the sex lives of Iranian women told in a graphic novel format. Marjane Satrapi, author of the bestselling graphic novel Persepolis, writes and illustrates her first graphic novel for adults and it is as intriguing as promised. Embroideries is told through Marjane's grandmother, neighbors, aunts, mother, and friends as they drink tea and set their sights on gossiping as soon as the men leave the room. Stories of heartbreak, laughter, injustice, and hopes are shared in this quick read. Secrets are discussed, lurid tales laughed at, and marriages analyzed. A quick wonderful read from a fantastic author.

A Proper Drink

An intriguing look at how a band of bartenders revived the cocktail movement and saved the civilized drinking world in the process. Robert Simonson painstakingly pieces together the top bartenders from around the world and tells how a drink here and a vintage cocktail book there helped bring about a cocktail revival that most of us take for granted. Without the ingenuity and determination of some bartenders to re-make some classic cocktails found in dusty old manuals and the willpower to track down obscure ingredients we wouldn't have the options that we currently enjoy. They brought back the classics, the sidecar, the ramos gin fizz, and in the process created new classics like the cosmopolitan and the appletini. A very comprehensive look at individual bartenders, and influential cocktail bars this book can get a little bogged down at times but is overall enlightening and will make you appreciate your drinks more. Also included are cocktail recipes at the end of every chapter.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Amityville Horror

A ridiculously quick read, this non-fiction horror story outlines the 28 days of hell that the Lutz family endured in their Amityville house. Reconstructed over hours of audio interviews the author creates a compelling timeline of the strange, seemingly demonic events that took place at their house. Creepy, but not altogether nightmare inducing, this book is a good companion for the subsequent movie adaptations. Honestly I prefer the movies better because they embrace their fictitiousness and are, in my opinion, quite a bit spookier. Obviously, I doubt much of the story is true, but who doesn't love a good scary story involving a gruesome murder, a haunted house, and a large red eyed talking pig named Jodie? If nothing else it helped me get more in the mood for Halloween.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Mix Redwall, Animal Farm, and The Fifth Wave together and you have some sense of what is going on in this action packed science fiction thriller. Giant ants have erupted from the surface of the earth and have started massacring every human in sight, to get the job done more effectively they release a substance that transforms all animals into walking, talking, thinking creatures to help eradicate all the humans. Sebastian was a content house cat but when he woke up with thoughts and plans he shed his old identity and became Mort(e) a former choker (pet) and current military bad-ass renowned for his feats of bravery and fearlessness. All he really wants to do is find Sheba, his neighbor who happened to be a dog, but Mort(e) remains content tracking humans and killing them while looking for his friend on the side. Years pass and the war rages on, the humans are wily creatures all Mort(e) wants to do is curl up with his missing friend but instead he must battle on and be disillusioned with what the Queen ant has in store for everyone. A compelling unique sci-fi that is the beginning of a trilogy.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Monster Calls

Oh. My. Gosh. Words cannot describe how thoroughly I enjoyed the book. Even the second time around. It was creepily poetic and the illustrations were amazing. They really helped make the entire story. I started to read a chapter last night, and the next thing I know, BAM covers closed I finished the whole damn thing. It was that good!

The story follows Conor, a 13 year old boy living in England trying to deal with his mom's increasingly worse cancer symptoms and the nightmares it inspires. One night however, he realizes that he really is being visited by a monster. The monster (beautifully illustrated in the book, I might add) doesn't necessarily want to hurt Conor, but does he want to help him either?

Please, please give this book a chance. Definitely, one of the best books I've read this year!!