Wednesday, April 30, 2014


LOVED IT!! This may be my favorite in the trilogy. Things really started to come together and I loved the character development. It was thrilling, ingenious, and well researched. If Yellowstone erupts in my lifetime, this will most definitely be my go to manual.

The first two books were composed of a lot of short term missions, scuffles, fights, survival, but this book really set the stage for how Alex, Darla and their family is going to be able to live long term in their apocalyptic new world. I enjoyed their town building, technical details and strategies for solving common problems. It's very intriguing and suffice it to say, if I were in their shoes I wouldn't last too long.

An exciting and impeccable conclusion to the "Ashfall" trilogy, I can't wait to see what author, Mike Mullin, has in store for us next!

For fans of survival literature, end of the world scenarios, and dystopias.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Quarantine: The Loners

Imagine you're trapped in your high school with a lethal disease and no communication with the outside world. It's "Lord of the Flies" meets "The Hunger Games." McKinley High School was your typical high school. That is until it became a haven for a highly contagious and lethal virus that kills off all adults. Over one thousand students are trapped in the high school with no adults to reign them in. Quickly everyone splits into cliques. There are the varsitys, the pretty ones, the nerds, the freaks, the geeks, and the nerds. Everyone belongs, well almost everyone. David and his epileptic brother are left to fend for themselves. Will they survive? Will they be able to join forces with other misfits like themselves? This is high school like you've never seen it. Where murder and thieving are accepted in order to survive. Read at your own risk!


This book seemingly defies categories. It's mythical, it's romantic, it's historical, it's fantasy, etc. It has a little bit of everything! Boys will like it, so will girls. It's intended for teens but it will appeal to adults as well. It gives you chills and goosebumps and compels you to keep turning pages! The seven stories all take place on a mysterious island. Starting in the future and then going in reverse the tales become more and more interconnected. Characters seem to be repeat themselves, as do the themes. It seems like it would be a really gorgeous episode (or season) of the Twilight Zone. It's written beautifully and the symbols and themes connect  to each other and blossom into deeper meanings until it climaxes at the end. A quick, delicious read.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Listening to the audiobook version of this was a real treat. It made me appreciate both John Green and David Levithan's writing talent even more. Usually I can't get into stories written by more than one author because I find them too choppy, by Green and Levithan play beautifully off of each other. Each chapter alternates between a different Will Grayson. The first Will Grayson (and obviously John Green's creation) is a quiet, no- nonsense kid who just so happens to be best friends with a massive hulkng, flaming gay teen called Tiny. Always hiding in the shadows behind Tiny's massive spotlight he yearns to be more than a safety net. The second Will Grayson is an angry, sulking, teen who pretty much hates everyone and everything, that is, except for his internet boyfriend Isaac. One Friday evening the Will Graysons cross paths in a porn store in Chicago. It seems to be no mere coincidence for their lives will both ultimately change.

A great poignant story that touches on friendship, sexuality, and the complexities of life. A great read (and listen!). For fans of young adult and LGBT literature.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ashen Winter

I thought the first book in the trilogy was fast paced, boy was I wrong! The action in "Ashen Winter" never lets up. Just when you think they've finally made it, something insane and awful happens and you have to keep reading!  There is no break! Which is fine by me because this makes the story whiz by.

Almost half a year after Yellowstone erupted and pretty much destroyed North America, Alex and Dara decide to leave the relative safety of his Uncle's farm to try and find Alex's parents. The second they hit the road, all hell breaks loose. There's bandits, flensers (cannibals), horrible FEMA officers, and gangs of desperate starving people who will stop at nothing to survive. Alex and Dara have to not only fight and outsmart these people, but survive the hellish winter they're in. Is it even worth surviving in this world? And if so who is worth dying for?

Another fantastic addition to Mike Mullin's work. I cannot wait to read the conclusion!

For fans of dystopias, fight for survivals, and young adult literature.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess

A perfect addition for young Christian girls and their parents' libraries. Geared towards girls aged four to nine, this simple and beautifully illustrated collection of Bible stories is a great introduction to the Bible. It captures the essence of long complex Bible passages in two to three pages per story and ends each section with a thought and a prayer. Great for bedtime prayers and reflection with your children.

Disclaimer, I am not a parent but I am a public librarian and I think this is a great resource for parents and will captures kids attention and hearts with its profound message and beautiful illustrations.

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and other concerns)

This may come as a shocker but I've never seen The Office. What little I knew about Mindy Kaling I gleaned from Tabloids Facebook. However, after  reading this hilarious writing debut I'm all on the Kaling Express. Seriously, this book is too funny. Why did I not become a fan sooner? Kaling is one of those Hollywood starlets you could actually imagine having as a friend. She's down to earth, hilarious, shockingly normal, and has the zaniest sense of humor ever. This book is made up of short little essays about growing up a chubby Indian child, friends, college, favorite comedians, relationships, and more. It's got a little something in it for everyone.

A must read for fans of comedy, The Office, Mindy Kaling, the chubby girl next door and more. Truly hilarious and peppered with great photos and anecdotes. Perfect for gifts and book clubs :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

St. Peter's Bones: How the Relics of the First Pope Were Lost and Found... and then Lost and Found Again

This was a charming and informative little read. A must for fans of biblical history and/or archaeology. Thomas J. Craughwell explores the fascinating history of St. Peter's remains and gives a brief introduction to biblical archaeology in the process. This intriguing story of the discovery, then loss, then rediscovery of St. Peter's resting place is likely to be a big hint with any history fans, not just Catholics. Craughwell references, top scholars, scientists, ancient texts, and folklore to piece together the mystery and fascination surrounding the first Pope's bones.

In the telling of this story, the author references many other holy spots containing saints remains, pilgrimage spots, and primitive archaeology. "St. Peter's Bones" doesn't read like a dry non-fiction tome, it's exciting and made me want to learn more about my Catholic heritage and archaeology in general!

For fans of Biblical history, saints lives, and archaeology.

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

A Sensible Arrangement

The title pretty much sums it all up. Sensible, sensible, sensible. Marty Olsen is ready to get out of Texas by any means possible. The death of her husband still haunts her and she can't escape the memories of him and their childless marriage. She hastily responds to an add looking for a Lone Star bride in Colorado. The add makes it very clear that a wife us needed for social standing, nothing else, and that it will be a sensible arrangement. No love required.

When Marty arrives she soon wonders if she will be able to hold on to that promise. Does God have another plan for her and Jake? Sprinkled with wonderful historical details, this story will delight and enthrall readers.

For fans of christian historical fiction. I received this book for free from Litfuse publicity in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cassie & Caleb Discover God's Wonderful Design

This is a great resource for Christian parents. There are twenty short chapters, each one containing a story about a flawed but loving Christian family, a passage from the bible, and follow up questions, and prayers. The beginning even has great information on how to use the book for parents, grandparents, and teachers.

Each chapter touches on a different lesson that someone in the family has to learn. Like, why are boys and girls different? How do we reflect God? How can prayer help? I thought some of the examples were pretty good, for instance boys and girls are different but equal just like crayons. "One crayon is designed to color things green, and one is designed to color things red - but one is not better than the other. They're equal, and their different functions are equal." It has lots of good lessons and reflections for kids.

I thought it could have been a little more diverse and a little less sexist, but it is a Christian educational book. To expect anything other than a white middle class family with a stay at home mom is silly. But hey, what can you do. Maybe you can make your own lesson up at the end to teach your kids?

Informative, Christian read for parents or adults that work with children.

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

First Descent

Wow! I didn't have high expectations for this novel and I'm not really sure why. Maybe the cover art was a little cheesy for my taste or something. I'm not really sure. But regardless of my initial thoughts, I was definitely proven wrong. It was an awesome read! Kids, kayakers, and thrill seekers alike will love this book. It's informative, adventuresome, full of history, South American culture, and sporting knowledge. It's got something for everyone.

This story follows Rex as he chases his grandfather's dream of being the first one to successfully kayak the deadly Furioso river in the wild, dangerous country of Columbia. At seventeen he secures enough sponsors, money, and teammates to attempt the first descent on this wild unmapped river. But Rex soon finds out that political unrest, genocide, and guerrilla's may kill him before he ever makes it to the river. He befriends a local indigenous tribe, the same ones his grandfather met decades before when trying to master the river and soon learns more about himself, his grandfather, and the poor endangered natives then he ever thought possible.

It's an engrossing read and I learned loads about white water rafting and the unrest in Columbia. A must read for adventure fans!

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

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reconstructing Amelia

Holy cow Batman! This book was impossible to put down!!! It was a great mystery/thriller that kept me guessing and turning pages. In turns of suspense and pacing, it reminded me a lot of "Gone Girl." I literally can't even recommend this book enough. It was great!

The story opens up with Kate getting a call from her daughter's fancy prep school saying that Amelia had been caught cheating and needed to be picked up immediately. This sets off warning bells in Kate's mind because she knows her daughter would never do such a thing, she's super smart and practically an angel! Once she arrives at school though, the unthinkable has happened. Amelia is found dead on the concrete, supposedly from committing suicide by jumping from the roof. Something isn't quite adding up, her daughter wasn't impulsive and had been a very happy teen. As Kate pours through her daughters emails, texts, and facebook she begins to see a whole new side to her daughter and her "suicide" seems very very fishy.

A must read for fans of suspense or "Gone Girl."

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Why did I just now read this?!? It was a pretty damn good follow up to Divergent, the action never lets up and you're left racing to the end hoping to get some things wrapped up but when you get there, BAM, you're left hanging. You have to wait for the final book in the trilogy. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews about the last book so I'm scared to start it, but at the same time I have to find out what in the hell is going on!!

In Isurgent Tris has to learn to cope with the death of her parents and Will, she's scared to use a gun, but not afraid to rip people apart with her bare hands. She and Four (Tobias, that sexy dreamboat) are constantly arguing in this book. They can't agree on anything and are convinced that they're lying to each other. Together they team up with some loyal dauntless, factionless, Candor, and some other people to try and take down the evil Euradite woman, Jeanine, and her posse of evildoers.

Like I said it's fast paced and the action never lets up. Super quick read. Be warned though that if you haven't read Divergent you will be hopelessly lost.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Queen's Handmaid

Breathtaking in scope, this historical piece takes us back to when Cleopatra was still ruling the Nile and Rome was still in all its glory. Told through the eyes of a handmaid, this tale of suspense, finding one's true purpose, and faith is inspiring and intriguing. The political intrigues and backdrop are fascinating enough on their own but author, Tracey L. Higley, goes above and beyond creating the perfect story. Lydia serves first Cleopatra in Alexandra, then Herod's wife in the Holy city. Before she fled Alexandria with Herod, her mentor entrusted her with a sacred set of scrolls to be given to a secret man in Jerusalem. For years she carries this secret burden trying to fulfill this destiny but something always manages to thwart her attempts; war, death, duty, the list is never ending. Lydia must learn to trust herself and her friends if she is ever to complete her mission.

For fans of historical intrigue, romance, and biblical history. I received this book free from LitFuse Publicity in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Summer of Joy

Told through the eyes of fourteen year old Jocie, this story of love, faith, and redemption is full of vibrance and enthusiasm. It's the 1960's and Holyhill is still as small town as ever, nearly immune to the turbulent times across the nation. Two outsiders come to this quaint town and threaten to undo that peace and quiet. One, a mean and calculating freshman english teacher, and the other a long lost relative. Jocie speculates on how these characters affect not only her but those around her. Her father is due to be married and Jocie can hardly contain her excitement at getting a new mother, in fact most of the town is excited. But will these unexpected visitors throw everything off? Will God provide?

Cute, fast read. For fans of Christian historical romance. Be warned though, this is the third book in a series and some of the characters back stories are only touched upon. Also, unlike the title, the story is only set in summer for about three chapters (not that it really matters, but I found it amusing).

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

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Heart's Rebellion

Although the beginning of the book nearly dissuaded me, I was very glad I kept with it, because I dearly enjoyed this book. I hadn't read a regency romance in ages so this really re-opened the floodgates for me. Ruth Axtell brings together a cast of characters that are flawed, vain individuals but makes them immensely likable. You root for them when they're down, chide them when they're misbehaving, and feel their sorrow when they're suffering. Jessamine Berry and her best friend Megan are enjoying their first season in London. Although not from the rich upper class, they intend to enjoy themselves to the best of their ability. Jessamine is determined that a season in the summer will help her forget about her heartbreak involving Megan's older brother. Almost immediately, they make the acquaintance of Mr. Marfleet, a young vicar who has his eyes set on Jessamine. Feeling that he is too intolerable, too rude, and too much like her father, Jessamine rebuffs his advances and tries to find someone more dashing for the season. But sometimes the heart can be a fickle thing, maybe Mr. Marfleet is what the doctor ordered?

Well written and enjoyable, this novel is well researched and true to the period. For fans of Jane Austen and other regency romances.

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

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Maybelle in Stitches

This is the third book I've read in the quilts of love series and I have to say that I really enjoy how different they all are. I've read one about a Native American woman , one about a female cop in Florida, and this one, about a young woman doing her part in the war effort by welding while her husband is off fighting Nazis. Each era in this series focuses on strong female women and overcoming the odds to keep or regain the faith. Quilts are the focal point that piece together the stories.

For instance, in this novel, Maybelle has to come to terms with knowing that her husband is missing in action. The not knowing is tearing her apart so to keep her mind off worrying she and her friends work on a hope quilt, each stitch lovingly sewn and filled with hope for all the boys fighting Hitler. What started out as a chore, now fills her with hope.

It's a cute series, and this one in particular is a fast inspirational read. For fans of Christian historical fiction.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shotgun Lovesongs

That was one hell of an audiobook. Each character was narrated beautifully by a different voice and the end result is amazing. Superbly done. Shotgun Lovesongs is a story about a group of friends in a small town in Wisconsin. Though their lives have all changed drastically throughout the years, one became a famous musician, two got married, one suffered brain damage, and one became fabulously wealthy their lives still all intercept. And the raw emotion and feeling that they all have is stunning. A must listen or read. Hard to put down. Gritty, real, and heartfelt this novel has something to offer for everyone!