Saturday, August 31, 2013

Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture

I'm going to sound like a TOTAL nerd, but I had to google who Andy Cohen was before I read this. I've never watched Bravo (too poor for cable) or the The Real Housewives and apparently I'm pop culture stupid because I've never heard of Andy anywhere else though. All that being said I still enjoyed this audiobook a great deal. Andy narrated it himself and he did a GREAT job. He's a hilarious narrator and his accents and voices are too funny. Plus he includes tons of tidbits and extra material just for the audiobook version (a real plus!).

Andy's memoir reflects back on his youth, his love for All My Children, coming out as gay, becoming a celebrity and much much more. It's funny, poignant, eye rolling, and attention grabbing all in one go. A definite must listen for all fans of pop culture!


Wow, this book took my breath away. It was terrifying, inspirational, insane, unbelievable, and heartbreaking. I've never had the urge to do hard drugs and this book firmly cemented my belief that drugs will fuck your shit up. 

I'm an anxious reader as it is and I always get nervous when a character does something I know they shouldn't do or that they'll get in trouble for later (you could say I get waaay too invested in my stories) and this book had me hyperventilating. I was practically yelling at the book, "Don't do it Nic! Don't relapse! That's a horrible idea! What are you thinking??"

This memoir is haunting and heartbreaking but you really have to admire the guts Nic has in sharing his brutal story about addiction. He spiraled out of control multiple times and he leaves nothing out. He was using dirty needles, prostituting himself, stealing from his family, doing every type of drug imaginable and he lays it all out for the reader. It took a lot of failed attempts but he finally got clean, testament to, no matter how bad your life is you can turn it around.

A truly great (but terrifying) book.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Certain Girls

I read this in one day, but that doesn't necessarily mean I loved this book. I didn't find out until I went to post this review that this book is the second in a series. That being said I had no idea and had no problem following the storyline.

The story follows Cannie and her daughter, Joy, as they try to come to terms with Joy growing up. The alternating chapters really help illustrate the gap between mother and daughter. As Joy prepares for adulthood (she's thirteen), her mom wants to put her life on hold and keep her young forever. Witty, funny, this story emphasizes the complexities of mother and daughter relationships and the strength and understanding needed to stay sane.

Overall, this was alright but not earth shattering. Good read for those that like chick lit.

The 5th Wave

Hands down the BEST alien book I've ever read! Imagine if "The Host" had actually been good and had a lot of awesome multi-dimensional characters, now multiply that by ten and throw in some "War of the Worlds" and that is what "The 5th Wave" is. A real page turner told through the eyes of those living through the alien invasion.

Humans have been largely eradicated, billions are dead and the few that remain know they can trust NO ONE. After the first wave, the world was covered in darkness, everything technological was destroyed in a massive EMP blast. Everything was mass chaos. The second wave killed millions by wiping out all the coastal cities, the third wave was a plague, and the fourth wave was aliens posing as humans. Can Cassie survive another wave? Can anyone?

This young adult thriller will keep you on your toes as you see the world through the eyes of four young survivors. Each chapter brings about another question, another trial. Can humanity survive?

This page turner is hands down the most inventive and engaging alien novel I've ever read, it's not overly science fictiony and it is a great read for those who love dystopias and end of the world books.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Allingham: The Long Journey Home

John Horst has done it again, the third installment (and final one I believe) of the Allingham series is just as good as the first two, if not better. This time however, our hero, Allingham, takes the backseat for some of the adventure because of the tragic loss of his beautiful wife. While mourning Rebecca, all hell breaks loose in Arizona. It's a land war and ranches are pitted against each other as cattle go missing, men get lynched, houses burned down, etc.Without Allingham to save the day they hire his old friend Stosh Gorski, a tough cop from New York to try and clean up the land and figure out who is behind it all. As the body count keeps mounting, Stosh wishes like hell that Allingham could pull his shit together and help him straighten out the mess. Will the conflict ever end?

Overall, another great western with memorable characters and of course Horst's trademark, strong women. At points it gets a little confusing straightening out the minor characters, figuring who works for who, but it's easily remedied when you continue reading. Another must read!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Audiobook Review for the Library Journal - Lookaway Lookaway

Barnhardt, Wilton. Lookaway, Lookaway. 13 CDs. unabridged. 16 hrs. MacMillan Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781427229328. $49.99. 

Barnhardt's fourth novel is a tour de force, chronicling a majestic southern family's rise and fall in true Victorian era fashion. The Johnston and Jarvis family saga spans several decades and is stunning in it's honesty, cleverness, and dark humor. Jerene Jarvis Johnston strives to uphold her southern affluent roots and traditions in Charlotte, North Carolina, but as the twenty first century progresses and southern lifestyles and society changes she finds it harder to maintain the facade. Her four children lead vastly different lives than she had envisioned for them, her good for nothing alcoholic and celebrity author brother constantly makes a mess which she has to clean up, her mother doesn't have the common decency to die and stop being a thorn in their side, and to top it all off her saintly husband, Duke, has some skeletons in his closet. An engaging and inventive romp into the rise and fall of one of the most eclectic southern families you wished you knew. Narrated brilliantly by North Carolina native, Scott Shepherd, who give all the characters a voice their own in true southern accents. Scott gives them all perfect inflections, sarcasms, and tones; I can envision no other narrator carrying out such a fine job on this novel. For fans of southern literature and dark family sagas. A MUST read for the fall! Erin Cataldi, Franklin College, Franklin, IN

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


This is one of the most touching , funny, and poignant coming of age stories I've read in a quite some time. Kit hasn't had an easy childhood, her father is an AWFUL drunk, he screams, yells, breaks things and has never provided a warm and loving life for Kit or her mother. When a two year ban on fishing is imposed, her father loses her job and Kit and her family are forced to move out of beautiful idyllic Parson's Bay into the city with her uncle. She has to leave behind her beloved Nan, her best friend, and her mentor.

Once in the city Kit has a hard time adjusting, she can't afford new clothes and must go to school looking like a bumpkin, in no time at all the kids are calling her "baygirl." As if that weren't bad enough her unemployed father starts drinking even more and gets her mother fired from her part time job by showing up drunk to her work. With nowhere to hide, Kit starts to visit the crazy old British neighbor next door, Reginald, and befriend him. Slowly things start to get better, she gets a friend, a wonderful boyfriend who writes her poetry, and her uncle starts to make an effort at getting out of his depression. But throughout all this her father never puts down the bottle. What will it take him to quit? How can she love a man that she has no respect for?

The story takes a dramatic twist at the end, but it doesn't leave you wanting. It's a truly marvelous book that
address issues such as: alcoholism, friendship, redemption, and above all forgiveness. A great debut young adult novel by Heather Smith, I eagerly await reading her future writing endeavors.

Monday, August 12, 2013

If I Stay

This book had a great premise and it made me very emotional several times(yes, that's right I teared up, get over it). I somehow wanted more from it though, don't as me what because I can't lay my finger on it.

The story follows Mia, a young and in love teenager, who gets into a horrific car wreck that kills her parents and her brother. The next 24 hours are the hardest in Mia's life. Mia isn't dead, not quite, she's in ICU and hooked up to everything imaginable. But rather than laying in her broken body she's outside of it, like a ghost or apparition. She can see all the events unfolding. She can see how upset her family is in the waiting room, how hard it is on her punk rock boyfriend, and the toll it takes on her best friend, Kim. As she's watching all this unfold and reliving her memories she must decide, to stay here with those that care about her or to give up and join her family in heaven.

It's a sad and thought provoking book that captures the human emotions brilliantly. In a way it reminded me of "The Lovely Bones." 

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling

Wow, what an exciting romp! I enjoyed this work infinitely more than I did Rowling's other non-Harry Potter piece, "The Casual Vacancy." This is just a good ol' fashioned murder mystery with a down on his luck detective and a bright beautiful secretary.

The story opens with the "suicide" of world famous model, Lula Landry, and all the hype it caused. Fast forward to three months later and Lula's adopted brother hires a private detective to look deeper into the mysterious circumstances shrouding Lula's death. Comoran takes the case even though he doesn't think there's anything to be uncovered, but he soon discovers just how wrong he was. He and his secretary Robin team up to find the lost and scattered breadcrumbs that lead them into a life so distinctly different from theirs, the life of the rich and famous.

This fast paced novel will keep you turning pages and guessing who killed Lula (if she was killed after all). Highly recommended and I can't wait to read the next in the series!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Period. 8

This was a fast read, and I had it knocked out in about three hours. Chris Crutcher does a great job keeping you at the edge of your seat, guessing as to what is about to happen next. And it's no use, because you won't figure out what in the hell is going on until the end.

Period 8 is an hour long hang out/lunch time/open discussion that students at Heller High can participate in. The only only rules are that you have to keep it real (no lying and be honest) and what gets discussed in Period 8, STAYS in Period 8.

The truth isn't always simple though, when Paulie tells his girlfriend Hannah that he cheated on her, shit hits the fan and it seems to start a chain of events that no one could have foreseen. Mr. Logs, their trusty teacher, tries to hold the glue together, but easier said than done. When Mary goes missing, everyone in Period 8 realize that someone is lying. Can Paulie and Hannah pull through and settle their differences and work together to help find Mary? Why did Mary run away? All these questions and more build up until the fiery conclusion.

Great page turner!

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven

Corey Taylor, that sly beast, has done it again. As if I wasn't awed enough by his first book he had to show himself up and wow me again. Well done.

As I've stated before, it's not fair that a musician (Corey is the lead singer of both Slipknot and Stone Sour) as talented as Corey Taylor has the amazing and uncanny ability to pick up writing and not just do it well, but do it fucking amazing! Save some for the rest of us buddy!

Anyhow, this book is not a sequel to his first foray into writing, "Seven Deadly Sins," but rather a philosophical debate and cache of stories about the paranormal, afterlife, and ghosts. Corey hilariously retells spooky events that have occurred to him and his friends throughout their lives and discusses the ethics and philosophies of the paranormal.His musings really get you thinking! Yes he may ramble a bit (thankfully, his ramblings are hilarious) but as he says:

But what do I know? I am a singer in a band.. I am prone to outbursts of profound berserker ramblings that fade into one-way lanes before over correcting to keep my Mopar mind on the road... I am the Buddha of babble - witness the vitriol and savor its profundity.

This book will make you think, you may not agree with what he says, but that's not the point, as Corey states,

No one here is going to scoff or judge or fuck with you. I will not allow it. That right there is a beautiful thing about new knowledge, really. It may be strange, and it may scare the fucking shit out of you, but you will wonder. YOU WILL WONDER.