Thursday, July 24, 2014

Wolf Songs: The Classic Collection of Writing about Wolves

Prior to reading this I had no real thoughts about the wolf. The wolf was just a character is many of the stories I've read over my life: Little Read Riding Hood, werewolf novels, etc. They are always portrayed as cunning, vicious creatures that kill off livestock and children. This small collection of short stories and essays brings to life another story. Wolves are smart, loyal, integral to our environment and thanks to years of misunderstanding and free reign of hunters, they are close to extinction. Most states have less than 50 wolves left and what few that have survived have to fear angry farmers and hot head hunters. This collection puts together another side of the coin, by showing just how majestic and smart they are it begs the reader to question: why are criminalizing these animals. An eye opening and beautiful collection. I for one will never look at wolves the same again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Crazy

I read this beautifully crafted prose in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. Set in 1960's Oregon and told through the eyes of a fifteen year old girl watching her mother's breakdown, this young adult novel is a must for any mental health collection. Laura, a talented artist, tries to cope with her mother's strange illness by purring on a brave face and telling no one. She's alienated her friends from her home problems because she doesn't know what to tell them, for she has no answers. Laura instead hides herself in her art, only to one day stop painting because she fears it is what drove her mother crazy. Amazingly well crated in prose, the short poems capture Laura's concern, heartbreak, and confusion.

Fantastic read on what it's like to deal with mental health problems and the stigma that is attached with them. For fans of young adult poetry and mental health fiction.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer State of Mind

I'm not going to sugarcoat it, I HATED, HATED .... the main character for the first few chapters. Like full on loathed her skinny, little bitchy self. She was rich, spoiled, and hung out with other privileged little white fifteen year old brats. Thankfully her mom and dad decide their dearest daughter needs a reality check after she blew several THOUSAND dollars on her AMEX card. A fifteen year old spending thousands at couture shops, spas, private lessons, and fancy dining. Really?!?! Anyway ma and pa ship Harper and her twin brother off to a sleepaway camp in the middle of nowhere for a dose of reality. Her adventure seeking brother Kyle loves it, but Harper can't stand it. Her wedges aren't good for hiking, her hair can't adjust to the humidity, and she can't text! Oh no! What's a girl to do?!? Most campers immediately dislike Harper, dubbing her Camping Barbie. She makes one good friend though and surprisingly starts to have a good time. Maybe life isn't all about the superficial stuff, maybe her parents did know what's best for her.

The story is thoroughly predictable, but still enjoyable. It's the perfect beach read. It's fast, breezy, and doesn't require much thinking. It's the second in a "series" but this novel focuses on a different character and different year than the first (Sleepaway Girls), only the setting is the same.

I received this book for free from Librarything in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Death Takes a Ride

This is one of the first cozy mysteries that I've read that is "inspirational" (i.e. Christian). It didn't make it a whole lot different than a normal cozy mystery, the characters didn't drink and they prayed to God a few times, but other than that it was pretty much the same as what you'd expect. Cate is a youngish assistant private detective working her way up her Uncle's business. She has a bossy cat, a sweet, nerdy boyfriend, and a knack for getting into trouble. In this book she stumbles onto a murder scene and gets herself wrapped up into a perplexing case of why would anyone want to kill a mechanic? With the help of her boyfriend, her cat, and God she solves the case.

I jumped into this series, The Cate Kincaid Files, at book number three I didn't feel like I missed out on anything by not reading the first three, it served fine as a stand alone. For fans of inspirational books and cozy mysteries.

I received this book free fromRevell Publishing in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Curious Man: The Strange & Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe it or Not" Ripley

Strange and brilliant doesn't even begin to cover it. Robert Ripley was the true "believe it or not." Since I was a child I had always been enamored with the believe it or not franchise. I had some of the books and even visited one of the odditoriums when I was a kid. Not until I picked up this book though, did I know a thing about the founder of this bizarre empire. Neal Thompson lovingly puts together Ripley's life starting from a young boy up until his premature death at 59. Ripley started off a shy, gawky, artist and quickly turned into one of the most influential and wealthy men of his era. His rise to fame began small and then skyrocketed. He exposed the oddest people, facts, and feats and people loved him for it. His cartoons, radio and tv shows, books, and side shows became the most unusual and beloved in America. Unfortunately, it started to go to his head and although he was generous and fun, he could have a temper. He kept a fast paced schedule and worked non-stop and it eventually took a toll on his health. Author Neal Thompson does a great job chronicling the rise and fall of Ripley as well as outlining the lasting impact of his empire.

For fans of the odd and biographies.

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

The One & Only

Giffin, Emily. The One & Only. 12 CDs. unabridged. 15 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 9780804127585. 

Shea Rigsby has been in a rut her entire life she just doesn't realize it. Born and raised in Walker, Texas Shea's whole life has revolved around football. After graduating from college she stayed behind in her hometown to work for the college athletic department, not even considering any other options. It also didn't help that her best friend's father is the legendary Walker football coach and close personal friend. When tragedy strikes the Walker community Shea finds herself closely examining her future. Is this what she truly wants out of life? At Coach's insistence she starts to branch out of her safety net and see what awaits her. Shea is forced to confront her fears, see the truth in others, and follow her heart. Shea's story starts fast and compelling but slowly peetered out to it's inevitable conclusion. Along the way were several cringe worthy moments and awkward scenarios. Narrator, Sofia Willingham saved this story from being too bogged down in football and awkwardness, and her cool narration kept the story engaging. For fans of chick lit and Emily Giffin.  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin IN

Friday, July 11, 2014

Morvern Callar

I don't know how I feel about this or what it was I just read.... This was a difficult read because I'm not Scottish. I don't know Scottish slang or shorthand and had to google phrases every other page (hint: greeting means crying... don't ask me why). The book is written as free flowing thought from the mind of a young twenty something Scottish gal. The book opens up with her finding the body of her boyfriend in her kitchen after he commits suicide. From there the book takes off into a weird spiral. After crying initially she leaves the body for a few days and chain-smokes and drinks her way through town with her best friend. She is the emotionally oddest character I have ever read. Beyond that there is: sex, raves, drugs, drunks, introductions to people with weird names, body disposal, and the horror of working at a shitty supermarket.

If you can handle reading Irvine Walsh (Trainspotting) and Scottish prose then I am sure you will love the book and understand what in the hell is going on. I finished it. It wasn't awful, but I'm still confused. Perhaps the movie adaptation will shed some light on what in the hell is going on. Not for light readers or those easily confused.