Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone

I LOVED the concept for this book. It was totally engrossing and unique. Tens are going to eat this shit up! This story pieces together the life of Addison Stone through interviews, emails, articles, photographs, and paintings. Addison was a famous New York Artist who tragically died when she was only 18, this book attempts to piece together her life from people who knew her best or thought they knew her. Addison came from humble beginnings with a broken home and some severe mental problems. Art was her escape. When she was 17 she won some major art scholarships that enabled her to study in New York. She promptly became a splash and the next IT girl. New friends, new lovers, and new artwork awaited her, but her mental problems followed her to the city. This is her story, not in her own words but in the words of the people that surrounded her.

I loved the mix of narrative and art in this book, it makes it read even faster. For fans of young fiction and the New York art scene.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Mortal Danger

I really like the premise of this book. It's like Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" mixed with high school drama aimed at teens. Edie is an unattractive, overweight girl who has been bullied to her breaking point, just as she is about to leap from a bridge to put an end to her suffering a hand reaches out to stop her. One of the most attractive men Edie has ever seen stops her suicide mission with an offer; live and she will be granted three wishes. Of course though there are strings attached. She will have to repay the favors somehow in her life. She accepts the offer so she can wreak revenge on the classmates that made her life a living hell. She becomes beautiful and confident and just as she thinks her life can't get any better Edie realizes just how over her head she really is. Shadowy forces watch her, taunt her, harm people she loves. Now she is a pawn in the game of the immortals. Can she rely on smoking hott, Kian, to be on her side when the shit really starts to get crazy? Who knew revenge could be so complicated?

Overall, I liked it, I'm anxious to see where the next book goes. I think I like it so much because I can relate with Edie. Not that I hate my life or want to end it, but I can understand wanting to be pretty and well liked it. Who wouldn't?

A thought provoking book for teens looking for a new series.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


Stace, Wesley. Wonderkid. 10 CDs. unabridged. 11 hrs 55 mins. Dreamscape Media. 2014. ISBN 9781629236988. 

Perhaps the greatest band that never existed, author Wesley Stace (you may also know him as folk singer-songwriter John Wesley Harding), sure makes you wish they had. Under the direction of the madly energetic and bizarre Blake Lear, a group of London misfits goes from being an unnoticed nonsense band to an overnight sensation in America. The reason for their success? The record label saw potential in their mad rag tag group and decided to market them to a new audience, children. In Los Angeles they pick up some new band members and put together a show that kids and their parents will enjoy. Everyone music. Told from the perspective of Sweet (Lear's recently adopted kid, only ten years his junior), the gradual rise of the Wonderkids is a sight to behold. It is laugh out loud funny and oh so believable. Regrettably, the story started out a bit slow, but by the time the band is in America it picks up massive momentum and becomes impossible to stop listening to. There is added authenticity to the story as it is narrated brilliantly by the author, complete with British twang, hilarious impressions and two bonus songs at the end. A must read for fans of music memoirs and humor. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I could not put this book down! I loved every painful, hysterical, endearing second of it and it made me love Rainbow Rowell even more! I thought Eleanor and Park was good but this is EVEN better. It rang soo true and I love how real it felt. The characters in this story are so believable that it's sad when you realize that they are fictional. This story follows identical twins, Cath and Wren, has they embark on their first year of college. Wren is outgoing and quickly turns into a party girl but quiet, reserved Cath has a hard time even leaving the room. It's safer when she's working on the latest installment of her fanfiction. Cath is an amazing writer and she loves to lose herself to the world of Simon Snow. It's hard for her to adjust to a big state college with lots of people, hard assignments, and a new social order. When Cath's roommate Reagan and her friend, Levi, take her under their wings she starts to wonder if there is maybe more to life than her fanfiction. It's a story of friendship, first love, growing up, and obviously fanfiction. It's funny, believable, and oh so good. What are you waiting for?!? Read this book!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Paper Towns

Thankfully people did such a good job of lowering my expectations on this novel that I actually really enjoyed it! People have told me over and over that it's not NEARLY as good as Looking for Alaska or The Fault in Our Stars, so I didn't set the bar as high. I needn't have been worried because wherever the bar had been set I still quite enjoyed it!

It may not have been the most realistic teen novel ever but I really enjoyed it! Basically the premise of the story is that Quentin thinks that his neighbor (and supreme hottie), Margo, has gone missing and left a slew of clues for him to follow. At first his friends think it's weird, why would she run away and want Q to find her?!? He's not exactly at the top of the high school totem pole and neither are his friends. Once they start picking up on her trail of breadcrumbs though, they become transfixed on the hunt for Margo. This is a story of discovering yourself and your friends. A must for fans of teen lit and John Green.

Side note, I can't wait to see the movie adaptation!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Walking Dead: Book Nine

I spoke too soon in my last review of the previous Walking Dead installment, shit just got real. Just when I think the gang might be able to catch a break, PSYCH! let the awfulness continue. We know have a new crazy psycho enemy in the picture and he just might be worse than the governor, hard to believe right? Wrong, this guy is plain crazy. We are also introduced to another community, a seemingly good one, albeit crazy. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment when it comes out in the fall. I must know what happens!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Walking Dead: Book Eight

Things are on the mend and a little quiet in this one. Which is nice, the gang needs a break from murderous zombies and ruthless humans looking for a place to crash. While it's not as violent as some of the other installments it's still heavy. It's raw and gritty, and deals with the emotional trauma of the survivors. Carl wakes up from his coma, the community sets about rebuilding and fortifying their home away from the zombies, and they have a new guest, Jesus.

As always, great stuff and I can't wait to see where the next one picks up as this one ended on an exciting note.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

Imagine an academic Vampira with a blog and a sense of humor and you've got Caitlin Doughty. This memoir is dark, insightful, morbid, and laugh out loud funny. It's not for the faint of heart covering such topics such as: dead babies, embalming, burning bodies, and human decay, but damn is it interesting! Caitlin turned one of her greatest childhood fears, death, into her life ambition; ensuring that people are well educated and comfortable with their inevitable demise. After graduating with a degree in medieval history she decided that working in the funeral industry was the next step logically. Caitlin chronicles her time working in a crematory, going to mortuary school, driving dead bodies around California, and starting her internet forum, "The Order of the Good Death." Humorous, yet respectful, Caitlin's look at the funeral industry will have you questioning everything you ever thought about death.

I was lucky enough to meet the author twice in Las Vegas this summer at a Library convention. I can confirm that she is as humorous in person as she is in writing. A fantastic read (though not for the faint of heart).

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I'll admit, what first drew me to this book was the amazing photography. It was just so pretty! Thankfully, the content of the book matched up perfectly with the quality of the pictures. This is a fantastic cookbook of leafy greens (ie brassicas). There are eighty recipes on how to cook the world's healthiest vegetables as well as short essays from renowned doctors and nutritionists on the importance of these veggies. There are also great summaries on the preparation, cutting, cleaning, and cooking of these sometimes obscure greens.

Some of the vegetables included in this cookbook are: kale, broccoli, turnips, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, horseradish, and many more. Some of these vegetables sound intimidating or even bland but the author does a fantastic job of dispelling any rumors or bad thoughts on these misunderstood vegetables. The recipes included sound soo soo delightful. I grew up eating one, rooty mash. It is a fantastic mix of sweet potatoes (in my case regular potatoes) and kohlrabi that elevates mashed potatoes to something heavenly. Some other recipes I plan on trying soon are: colcannon with brussels sprout leaves, spicy kale fried rice, and roasted cabbage wedges.

All the recipes in this cookbook are gluten free and most are vegan or vegetarian, some include meat but there is almost always alternative ingredients listed to fit different dietary needs. This book is a great addition to any kitchen.

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

The Walking Dead: Book Seven

There are some new characters and new problems, but nothing that the gang isn't prepared to fix. Their new community is too promising to let anything get in the way of keeping it thriving so they are working together to try and keep it ship shape and free of zombies. As always, Rick is working on being the best leader he can be. He's already cracked a few times but I'm truly wondering how much longer he can hold on for.He has such a burden on his shoulders. Another great installment for the Walking Dead franchise.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Walking Dead: Book Six

As always another great installment in the Walking Dead franchise. Just when we think all help is lost things appear to be on the up and up... appear.... Dark and gritty yet masterfully crafted, this book will have you questioning human nature and what separates humans from the monsters... clearly not our humanity.

I can't wait for this show to catch up, this comic was destined to be an amazing television show.

Violets are Blue

This is my second ever James Patterson novel. I loved the narrators and I think they made the story a LOT better. Even though this is the sixth Alex Cross novel and I haven't read the first ones, I decided to pick it up. These are all basically stand alone novels anyways. It started off really promising, and I was instantly hooked. The murders were freaky and the bad guys were scary. I wanted to know more. Unfortunately the ending was very anticlimactic. It turns out there was more than one story in this story and it made the ending.... not what I anticipated. Overall, it was pretty decent I guess.

For fans of James Patterson novels and cheap thrills.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Song for Issy Bradley

I almost felt like a voyeur reading this book. It did such an amazing job of capturing this family that I had to keep reminding myself that they were fictional characters and I wasn't peering through a window into someone's life. Carys Bray does an amazing job of bringing to life this dysfunctional Mormon family that has to deal with an unthinkable loss.

Viewed through the eyes of every family member, this story of love, loss, and religion tells a powerful tale. Issy, a four year old girl falls ill and suddenly dies leaving her family to cope with her loss. Her father, Bishop Ian, decides to use this time of mourning as an example for his congregation on how to rise above and trust in Jesus. Issy's mom, on the other hand, finds that she is unable to cope and can hardly get out of bed. Zipporah and Alma take out their anger and sorrow at Issy's sudden death by acting out and pushing the limits of their Mormon faith. Jacob, the closest in age to Issy, harbors a hope that Issy will return from the dead if he only has enough faith. Laugh out loud funny, heart wrenching, and real, this intimate family story will have readers clamoring for more. A wonderful debut and insightful look at the Mormon faith.

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

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Reluctant Detective

This mystery series is a BBC show in the making. Faith Morgan an ex-cop turned Vicar has left behind her old overwhelming life behind and is searching for some peace and solace as a priest. When she is out searching for a Parrish to minister to, Faith witnesses the death of their local priest. When it turns out his death was the cause of foul play, her old detective skills come out of retirement and she finds herself torn between two professions; to serve God or the law.

This intriguing and whimsical little detective novel will have readers guessing who killed the old priest up until the end. For fans of British detective novels and cozy mysteries.

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

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Tales by Dr. Seuss

It was soo soo worth it to listen to the audiobook version of this book!! Each story was narrated by a different celebrity: Peter Dinklage, Neal Patrick Harris, Angelica Houston, Jason Lee, Joan Cusack and more are on this star studded audiobook. Each narrator brought their own distinct and fun take on the Dr. Seuss stories. Seven lost stories are included as well as a ten minute commentary by Dr. Seuss scholar on the history and nature of these stories. The stories are classic Dr. Steuss, new creatures, funny stories, great morals, and memorable rhymes. The only downside to the audiobook version is that you can't see the amazing illustrations. I would highly recommend getting the audiobook as well as the book to have your kids listen and follow along with. A must for any Dr. Seuss fan. The commentary was even delightful!!

Big Little Lies

I wish I could marry this book I love it so much. That is not an understatement either. This book was awesome. The cover art was awesome. The characters were awesome. The storyline was awesome. Everything is awesome (to quote the Lego movie)!!! I really enjoyed "The Husband's Secret," by Liane Moriarity so I was hoping I would like this one as well. Not to worry, I definitely LIKE this one a billion times better. Sooo good!!

There has been a tragic death at the school trivia night. Was it murder?Who knows what? The months leading up to the tragedy are viewed through the eyes of three kindergarten mothers; Jane, a single mother of an apparent "bully," Madeleine, an eccentric mother of three with too much to juggle, and gorgeous Celeste, wealthy mother to twins. Alternating with their version of events are snippets of the police reports and gossip of other kindergarten parents. The funny, intriguing, and horrifying view of events enhance the foreshadowing as you desperately try to figure out what is going on.

Thoroughly engrossing. This book made me briefly want to have kids so I could be as crazy and ridiculous as these mothers. A must read!!


I LOVED this book. It's quite possibly one of the best books I've read for young readers in the past decade and definitely the best book I've ever read on the subject of dealing with physical disabilities and overcoming adversity. Simply fanttastic. I listened to the audiobook version and I love that each "voice" in the book was narrated by another person.

The premise of the story is simple. August has a facial "deformity" (bad term I know). A very bad one. His family and friends  are able to look past it and see his radiant personality shining through but the same can't be said of everyone else. Kids call him a freak, parents stare, people run away. Needless to say, young Auggie has to deal with a lot. Especially, now that his parents are encouraging him to attend school for the first time in his life. Because of all the major facial surgeries Auggie has always been homeschooled by his mother, but now that he doesn't need any surgeries for a while there is no real reason for him to stay him. Obviously, August can think of a lot; kids will make fun of him, he won't make friends, people will say mean things, etc. In the end he decides to give school a try and it is nearly as bad as he thought it would be but he decides to tough it out. Slowly but surely he starts to make some friends. This is their story. Told alternately from the viewpoints of Auggie, his sister, his school friends, and others. This is a tale of kindness and seeing the best in others. It will make you laugh, cry, be angry, and view beauty in a completely different way.

A phenomenal, amazing read!

Friday, August 8, 2014


A modern day twist on the Tarzan tale for teens and adults alike. Cleverly executed, the story will engage readers as they rush to find out the full story of the "primitive boy." Dara and her boyfriend Josh decide to skip Florida for their senior spring break and spend some quality alone time camping in the middle of a national park. All goes well until Dara gets the uneasy feeling that they're not alone, because get this, they're not. Cade has always lived in the woods. His parents escaped from the world and raised their son in the world away from the contamination and disease of humans. When Cade's parents die he continued to live in the forest without them because he didn't know any better. But now that he's seen Dara he is so full of questions. "He's from the woods. She's from the world." is the tagline. And it pretty much summarizes the entire story.

It wasn't incredibly fast paced and lagged in the middle, but it was a new take on an old tale so that was cool. Also, I would have liked to see some better resolution with Dara's boyfriend at the end (rather than nothingness), but oh well. In all likelihood, most reader's will likely forget all about Josh when they start to imagine how hot primitive boy Caleb is:

"Someone had bought him jeans that fit, and his T-shirt clung to his still damp skin. Tied into an intricate knot, his dreads kissed the back of his neck. His skin was paler, all the grim scrubbed away. But he was still golden-brown and keen-eyed. It's just now that he looked like he walked out of an H&M ad."

Overall, imaginative fun summer read. Great for teens and fans of Tarzan or primitive living.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Veggie Tales: Celery Night Fever

This may come as a shocker, reviewing a Veggie Tales DVD on my book blog, but hey why not? Just because I'm a childless twenty-five year old librarian and haven't seen a Veggie Tales movie in nearly a decade doesn't mean I'm incapable of enjoying some good ol' Christian values and funky music! After being out of the game or the loop or whatever you want to call it for a while, I was surprised at how fast all the songs and characters came back to me. Larry was still as ridiculous and adorable as ever and if anything the songs had even improved!

This particular Vegggie Tales movie focused on forgiveness and featured Terry Crews. Terry isn't exactly the type of guy I would ever associate Veggie Tales with, but hey, shock value. He wasn't all that bad either, he brought a little diversity to the cast of veggies. Terry voiced the character of Bruce Onion, a property tycoon determined to turn a beloved town park into a parking lot. Laura Carrot and Junior Asparagus decide to try and save the park by holding a fundraiser concert featuring Laura's grandpa, a member of the formerly famous Groovy Brothers. Getting the band back together though is easier said than done because some of the members are still mad at each other. To make matters worse, Junior let Laura down and now she doesn't want to be his friend anymore. Can Laura save the park, her grandfather's band, and her friendship with Junior? Kids (and adults) will enjoy the catchy songs, ridiculous vegetable humor, and good values shown in this movie. As a bonus there is a new silly song called, "The Perfect Puppy," and some neat bonus features showing Terry Crews.

Some interesting observations that I made as an adult watching these films:
1. Am I weird for being creeped out that these vegetables don't have arms or hands? How did I not notice this before?
2. Terry Crews is such an oddball choice. The whole time I kept picturing him in White Chicks or The Expendables. This is definitely a different move in his career!
3. There is a scene where they are eating at a restaurant and they are CHOPPING UP onions and mushrooms and veggies and EATING them!! Is cannibalism going on?!
4. Do they really only live on a kitchen counter? How do they not get eaten?

Now for the fun part! Would you like to win a DVD copy of Veggie Tales: Celery Night Fever?!? No catch, no hidden shenanigans. If you want a chance to win a free copy just comment below this post and on Friday I will randomly select one person to get a free copy!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

My Life in a Nutshell

It's hard to write about anxiety disorders and mental health in a novel and make it believable but Tanya J. Peterson has managed to do it... again. Her first novel, "Leave of Absence," dealt with the effects of grief and schizophrenia, "My Life in a Nutshell" deals with extreme anxiety. Peterson crafts together an emotional, gripping tale of severe debilitating anxiety that gets you so worked up and involved, that it's as if you are personally suffering through it. It's almost painful, but it's so eye opening and humbling to realize that thousands of people have to deal with these types of emotions daily and there isn't always a happy ending for them. People suffering from anxiety are seriously misunderstood lonely souls and Peterson deftly brings their plight to readers.

Brian is a lonely soul. His beloved pet dog has just died and he is now on his own. Getting out of bed and going to work was hard enough before, but now without his trusty companion the depression, anxiety, and panic attacks threaten to overtake Brian completely. Solitary by nature, Brian works the night shift as a custodian to a local school and avoids human interaction whenever possible. A trip to the store is enough to cause a panic attack, talking to people is downright painful for him. Brian is perpetually scared he will say the wrong thing, look stupid, or be socially awkward. As if things couldn't get worse for Brian, his mother has insisted he see a counselor and a troubled child at the school has taken to following Brian around. Perhaps, both of these new people in his life can help him address what is holding him back from having a happy fulfilled life?

Another great novel from award winning author, Tanya J. Peterson. She humanizes anxiety and makes it easier for readers to understand just how horrific it is by portraying the story through Brian's eyes and having the reader suffer through all the panic attacks and insecurity that he is dealing with. Truly eye opening and well deserving of the Kirkus star it received.

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

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Walking Dead: Book Five

This is about where the last season of the Walking Dead ended, we have some new characters, some new problems (Rick! the phone? really??), and as always lots and lots of death. These poor guys can't even catch a break! No matter what they do, hell seems to be right on their heels, I can't wait to see where it goes from here! For fans of the tv show and zombies.

The Walking Dead: Book Four

Just when you think everything is finally going to be ok... BAM. It's not! Things just get progressively worse for the survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The sad thing is the zombies aren't even the scariest thing out there anymore, sometimes it's just the other people. For mature audiences, this series continues to get darker and more gruesome. For fans of the tv show and zombies.

Vegan Ice Cream

Just to clarify, I am not a vegan, just a lowly vegetarian. That being said I can still enjoy the amazingness of regular ice cream, but... I still want to eat every dang recipe in this book. The original title of this book was called "Vice Cream," how clever?!?! This book isn't too horribly complicated, some recipes have a lot more steps than others, but some only have two ingredients! TWO! I will admit I haven't made any of the ice creams myself yet, I need to invest in a good blender and ice cream maker. But the second I do, I will be tackling some of these amazing flavors: pumpkin, jalapeno heaven, peanut butter, black forest, raw strawberry rhubarb, banana almond, veggnog, pina colado, etc. There are over 90 recipes in this book some are gluten free, nut free, all are vegan, some are raw. There is literally something for everyone.  The author also includes cheats, so if you're feeling extra lazy and don't want to make your own coconut milk or vanilla you can take the easy way (that's my kind of cookbook!). Overall this is the perfect addition to any vegan cookbook collection. Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

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

Friday, August 1, 2014


You've got to give Rainbow Rowell credit, she can write the shit out of realistic female characters. She makes you relate to her characters by giving them real people flaws, unlike so many authors that make the female leads to pretty, perfect, self absorbed, etc. Rainbow is honest, and her writing shows that. She can also easily transition between writing adult and young adult novels which takes some serious talent. I can't wait to read more of her work. I haven't read Fangirl or Attachments yet, but I did read and love Eleanor and Park. Basically, if you like Rainbow Rowell as an author, then read this. And if you haven't? Read it anyway.

The Theory of Opposites

Scotch, Allison Winn. The Theory of Opposites. 8 CDs. unabridged. 8 hrs 52 mins. Brilliance Audio. 2013. ISBN 9781480576322. $59.97.

If Willa Chandler-Golden was a country she would be Switzerland. She has spent her whole life avoiding confrontation and being content with what she has been handed. She's not a go getter; she's a go along with the flow type of a gal. All that however, changes when her husband decides he needs to take a break from their marriage and work in Palo Alto for the summer. Suddenly alone, without a child, and without a job she starts to ponder the road map of her life. If she is supposed to be following a map, did she make a wrong turn, get lost in the woods? When her best friend Vanessa convinces her to co-author a "Dare You" self help book, Willa is forced to follow inertia and do the opposite of gut instincts. Laugh out loud funny with a memorable cast of characters and crazy family members, this story starts out great but starts to lose momentum by the end. Thankfully voice actress, Christina Traister, saves the day with her fabulous singing, outbursts, and colorful narration. For fans of chick lit and self help novels.  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin IN