Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Giver

It's been years since I've read this book and I was awed by how current it still is. This book was published 21 years ago and is STILL the shit! It's perfect for fans of dystopian novels like "The Hunger Games," "Divergent," or "Animal Farm." I can't wait to see the movie adaptation of this, the casting looks phenomenal.

If you're soo behind that you don't even know what the premise is, let me give you a little breakdown. Everything is the same. There is no color, or choice, or ill will. Everyone is polite, well fed, and has a purpose. At the age of twelve all children are assigned a job. Some get to become engineers, birth mothers, laborers, caretakers of the old. But for one young boy, Jonas, he is about to be given the most most honored job of all, the receiver. In order for sameness to exist one lone person must carry the memories of the past, of pain, of love, of confusion. It is a burden no one else gets to bear. As the giver places the memories of generations back into Jonas they both start to wonder. Is it worth trading memories for relative safety and sameness. Was it enough?

Friggin' phenomenal read. There are three other books in The Giver quartet.

Guilty Pleasures

I haven't re-read this book for several years and I had been itching to get back at it. Per usual, I loved every second of it. Anita Blake is freaking awesome, such a badass character. The intricate plot and amazing array of characters are also some of the things that keep me coming back or more. As always, I love it!

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains

LOVED this. As always Gaiman brilliantly brings to life an old tale, "a tale of travel and darkness with pictures of all kinds." It's a quick read and you will have it done within an hour, but the story will stick with you. It's mesmerizing and powerful in its simplicity and raw emotion. It's hard to summarize this book without giving too much away. Just know that the haunting illustrations and great story-line are worth an hour of your life. Gaiman is a master of the dark otherworlds; this story of vengeance, adventure, and shadow is no exception.

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


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.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Silkworm

I know, I know. I'm a horrible JK Rowling fan, this book has been out for nearly three weeks and I'm just now getting around to reading. I'm awful! I loved the first Comoran Strike novel and I'm glad to say I loved the newest addition as well! For readers that haven't read the first book, don't be alarmed. As with any good mystery series they all serve well as stand alones and don't have to be read in order.

This mystery was fast paced and had me guessing the entire time. I had no idea how it was all going to possibly come together. This mystery follows the disappearance of a b-list author. His wife contacts Detective Strike to find him after he's been gone for ten days thinking that he's off on some writer's retreat or worse with a mistress. Strike soon finds out however, that things are much, much worse.

For fans of JK Rowlings, mysteries, and anything set in London.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Threads of Change

I've read several inspirational historical romance quilting books this year (phew is that a mouthful) and this one followed a pretty similar route. Take a historical romance, add some widows or unmarried women who too much time on their hands, throw in a dash of quilting with a side of unrequited love and VOILA you have this book (along with a whole new genre).

Liz is an independent women, she is a widow with a ten year old son and she isn't afraid to speak her mind. When her grandfather convinces her that she, her sister, her two cousins, her son, and her should move west to Texas, in order to avoid the coming war (Civil War) she hesitantly agrees. While on the trail to Texas she utilizes her quick thinking and inner strength to save the traveling party from near disaster several times. It may seem like she's in control of everything but her heart and her head are at war. Accompanying them is her dead husband's best friend, Thomas. He's clearly smitten with her and she is unsure how to proceed. What's a woman to do? Spoiler alert, quilting solves most problems.

The storyline was decent although the beginning was convoluted and confusing. Once they reached Texas I feel like the author rushed together a hasty ending. The pacing was a little odd but overall I guess the story was ok.

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

Saturday, July 5, 2014

If You Could be Mine

Definitely a groundbreaking book in LGBT literature for teens. It brings up a lot of uncomfortable but necessary questions and fears that LGBT teens have to face everyday, except as is the case in this book, sometimes it is waay harder then we could ever imagine. This story takes place in Iran, were homosexuality is punished with death. Sahar and her best friend Nasrin have been in love with each other for years. Their romance has blossomed but they are both very careful to keep it under wraps so they don't get themselves killed. When Sahar finds out that the love of her life has been betrothed to a doctor her pretty naive little world starts to come apart. She can't imagine life without Nasrin but she can't think of any way that the two of them can be together, that is until her gay cousin introduces her to his transexual friend Parveen. Is she changing genders the only way she can stay with the love of her life. Will her family forgive her? Will Nasrin still love her if she is a man?

Definitely a book that causes you to think. It also raises good conversation on how homosexuality and sex reassignment are perceived in other countries and cultures.

Friday, July 4, 2014

All Fall Down

This isn't the first book I've ever read on addiction, but for being a work of fiction, I thought it was one of the most honest I've ever read. Aubrey is a normal person. Granted her life is a little hectic, she's a mother to a very sensitive five year old, she spends about sixty hours a week blogging, has a father with alzeheimers, and is constantly wondering what is wrong with her marriage. Little by little these things start to add up and as they do the little pills her doctor gave her for medical problems start to multiply and take over her life. At first the pills start to make her feel better, to cope with the stress of her life. However, it doesn't take long for them to take over her mental and emotional state. What started as one or two pills a day has turned into 15 or 30 Oxycontins, Percocets, or Vicodins just to be able to function. Aubrey realizes that things are starting to get out of control and tells herself that once she's done dealing with all the stress she'll start to cut back. Inevitably, like the title suggests, all fall down. This is a story of addiction, denial, heartbreak, and the crushing truth that addiction comes in all forms and can affect ANYBODY.

A great story that anyone with questions about addiction or the ramifications caused by it, should read. Definitely Jennifer Weiner's best book to date.

The Spectacular Now

Oh my God! Where has this book been all my life?! Why am I just now reading it?!? This is hands down the most honest look at teenage "romance." There aren't knights in shining armor. People have flaws, there is no perfect relationship. There is no happy ending, this is a real look at how many guys are... not perfect! Instead of the usual girl meets perfect boy (ie knight in shining armor) this is the story of a boy who isn't perfect. He's a funny likable guy and girls love him, but he's not a good guy and he knows it. The whole time you root for bad boy Sutter to turn his life around and be the boyfriend that Aimee loves and deserves. But life isn't always that cut and dry! People have real flaws to work with! Sutter is a high school student who drinks from sun up to sun down, he's always the life of the party. Girls love him, guys want to be him. He's so at ease with everything and takes nothing seriously. He has no life ambitions and just lives from day to day. Then comes Aimee a shy, quiet nerd, Sutter thinks that she can be his charity case and he'll give her the skills and confidence that she so desperately needs. But of course that's not how it works does it? They start to fall in love with each other. She brings out a new side in Sutter that he's not sure he likes.

Soo funny, witty, honest, and heartbreaking. I loved this book and the movie adaptation of it. Miles Teller was THE PERFECT choice to portray Sutter. A definite must read and a must see!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Walking Dead: Book Three

What can I say about this series that I haven't already said? It's fantastic! This third collection gets extra dark and violent as we encounter the governor for the first time. Let's just say they tamed down his character A LOT for the tv adaptation. Which is completely understandable... because the governor is completely batshit crazy!

For fans of zombies, end of the world scenarios, graphic novels, and dark, violent storylines :)