Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Crow

I haven't read this since middle school, but damn if it doesn't hold up. It's dark and gritty, and you can't stop reading it. It's a painful look at the life of a man whose one true love, is violently raped and murdered right in front of him (granted he's virtually dead so he can't exactly stop them). A year later he is somehow back, having rejected death, he goes out to seek revenge on the gang of thugs and addicts that ruined his life and exact his justice. Filled with lots of flashbacks, poems, and agony this graphic novel is not for the light hearted, but it is well worth a read and remains one of my personal favorites. The cult film based off of this, is also not to be missed.


A cute whimsical adult coloring book that pays tribute to the children's classic, Alice in Wonderland. Arranged by chapters, each section contains a small paragraph that helps sets the scene for the coloring pages to follow. Also contained are several coloring activities like decorating butterflies, putting food on a plat, etc. Most of the coloring pages are intricately drawn and only good with coloring pencils, although there are a few larger, not so challenging pieces. My only beef with this adorable coloring book is that the pages aren't perforated so you can't easily tear out any of your artwork. Other than that though, this is a great addition to the growing trend of adult coloring books and would make a great gift for many. Who wouldn't want to color the dodos or the red queen!?!

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

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

An adorable, sappy, punk rock, teenage romance that takes place in the span of one night. Nick is desperate, his ex-girlfriend the evil wench that broke his heart is at the club where his band is playing and he can't face her. She's already moved on, has a new boyfriend and he can't stop moping.  When he sees her approaching him he turns to a random girl he doesn't know and pleads, "Will you please be my girlfriend for the next five minutes?" Thus starts a long night of punk music, burlesque nuns, disappointment, heartbreak, and ultimately, hope. I really hope the movie does this edgy provocative book justice because I really enjoyed it. The story is told in alternating viewpoints from both Nick and Norah.


Pretty mind blowingly cool stuff. It is fascinating to see how economists can use data to make the most interesting and off the wall conclusions. For instance, legalizing abortion in the 70's caused the crime rate to drop in the 90's. Also discussed in this book are what sumo wrestlers and teachers have in common (cheating), why crack dealers live with their moms, the effect that names have in a child's future, how the KKK operates and more. Not too sciencey or data heavy, this book is easily readable and will definitely help you win at Jeopardy some day. Fun and intriguing, I definitely want to read their other one!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lumberjanes Vol. 3

Another cute installment in the Lumberjanes series. This latest collection features scary stories around the campfire, portals to the Jurassic era, the quest to earn easy badges, the bear woman, and more. The characters are ever cute and keep you on your toes with their crazy antics and shenanigans. Intended more for middle schoolers, but I guess I'm just young at heart. I can't wait for the next installment!

Eat Pray Love

I believe I enjoyed this book as much the second time around as I did when I first read it five years ago. Eat Pray Love is a yearlong memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, a recently divorced, emotionally scarred woman in her thirties. She decides she'll spend four months in Rome to learn the language and enjoy the food,  four months in India to meditate and pray, and four months in Indonesia to learn to balance her life. Along the way she discovers more about herself, meets unforgettable people, and constantly challenges herself to live life the fullest. It's a very inspiring memoir and I dare you to read this and not start a saving up to go traveling yourself. I have yet to see the movie but I hope it's at least a decent tribute to this awesome book.

The Inheritance

Book one of the Secrets of the Shetlands deals with the turmoil that Whales Reef finds itself in. After the death of their laird, David (the chief) finds that the money has gone dry. Will the tiny island be able to support itself? How will the wool factory workers get paid? David discovers that there will be no income until the estate is resolved and it seems like that may be a while since they aren't sure who the true heir should be. Is it David, the chief, or Hardy, his mean foolish cousin? Life on the Scottish island tries to go on as normal, but everyone is worried. What will happen to their traditions and their heritage? Meanwhile, Loni, a 33 year old American is trying to come to terms with her life as an assistant in Washington. Should she focus on her career, her faith, her boyfriend, her past? She doesn't know, but she soon has some surprises coming her way. An inspirational read that will charm fans of Scottish small town living.

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

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Definitely not something I would have ordinarily ever picked up. I was a little skeptical when I first got into it, but it developed into this wonderful apocalyptic book that I can't stop thinking about it. I've never been much for speculative fiction by Walter M. Miller Jr.'s classic, award winning science fiction book has me singing another tune. In a hellishly destroyed world, thrown back into the dark ages, a naive young monk discovers some artifacts that had belonged to the beloved Saint Leibowitz centuries prior. The monks are dedicated to preserving memorabilia and remnants of the old world and the story spans many centuries and revolves around their saint and their order. A wonderful read once you get into. I may even have to pick up the rest of the trilogy to see how this saga can possibly continue.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Southern Spirits

Hands down the most educational and readable book on alcohol I've ever read. Fascinating and filled with history this book reads like fiction and makes you desperate to start mixing some cocktails yourself! I've never thirsted for a mint julep so bad! Robert F. Moss does a great job outlining the history of drinking in the south and how it affected slavery, the prohibition, distilleries and more. It was a treasure trove of information. Each of the 20 chapters contained one or two drink recipes that corresponded to that decade or two worth of alcohol history. Also contained were images that help the reader get a sense of what is going on. Personally, I never realized how influential the south was on our drinking habits. From the creation of bourbon, moonshine, to my beloved mint juleps and gin fizzes, the south has had a HUGE influence on the drinking culture of America. A must read for any lover of booze and American history.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At the Edge of the Orchard

Chevalier, Tracy. At the Edge of the Orchard. 7 CDs. unabridged. 9 hrs. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781101924983.
Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) pulls no punches with this hard hit tale of a pioneer family that can't ever seem to get ahead. In 1838 the Goodenough family settles into the Black Swamp of northern Ohio and try to have a go at planting apple trees aided by the traveling salesman known as Johnny Appleseed. James cares for his apple trees better than he does his ten children (half of which have died), savoring the sweet apples they can make. His wife Sadie however, only likes the trees when the apples produced are bitter, making them ideal for alcohol and giving her an escape from the life she detests. Told from alternating viewpoints and letters, this tale of rough rugged living sucks listeners in with four distinct voice talents, all of whom embody and enliven the tale with their rough accents. Every drawl and whistle, and song bring the Black Swamp to life for listeners. Meticulously researched, heartbreakingly beautiful, deceptively simple, and superbly narrated. Another must read from the queen of historical fiction. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Aleutian Sparrow

A quick and heartbreaking look into an event that most Americans have never heard of. Before the US entered World War II, Japanese soldiers had invaded a few of the Aleutian Islands and as a result, the American government forced all the Aleutian natives were forced into internment camps for their own "safety" even though the Japanese quickly lost their tiny little foot-hole and the islands became safe. While the Aleutians were crowded into tiny camps with little amenities, bored US soldiers looted the islands destroying the native's homes. This story is told in verse from the perspective of a young girl, and is cheerful and heartbreaking in its tone. There is a dictionary and testimony from a real native girl that lived through the whole ordeal. The US government didn't formally apologize until 1988.

How to Be a Woman

I loved everything about this book! Caitlin Moran is one of those people that you just want to be friends with because she writes so well that you can relate with her! Reading each page was a joy and literally laugh out loud funny. I know some people don't agree with her brand of feminism saying it's not all politically kosher and she's making fun of it, but I disagree. I found it refreshing! She wasn't talking down  to readers or even preaching, she just used her hilarious life stories to discuss modern day feminism. From the fashion industry to weddings to abortions, this book covers a plethora of topics. After finishing this I immediately put her second book on hold at the library. Her writing style is just too damn funny and her stories stick with you. An all around great read.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder

A cute, enjoyable romp that will take readers through the underbelly of Toronto at the turn of the century. Merinda and Jemima are two well off girls who have been pretty much disowned by their families for their unwomenly behavior. Merinda likes to waltz around the city in men's clothes solving murder cases and helping those at the bottom of the totem pole. Jem isn't as brazen but she follows Merinda around and as such, takes part in all of her shenanigans. When two immigrant girls are found murdered in Corktown, the pair decide that they're going to solve it and form their own detective agency at that. Filled with witty dialogue, improbable scenarios, budding romances, and unforgettable characters this inspirational cozy mystery will find many fans. I wouldn't mind picking up the next in the series myself.

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nightmares and Dreamscapes

The allure for this short story collection was that it was narrated by a cast of marvelous actors and actresses. Tim Curry, Whoopi Goldberg, Rob Lowe, Gary Sinese, Jerry Garcia, and more narrate this haunting and poetic short story collection by the master of horror. Some were doozies but others were utterly captivating. "Dolan's Cadillac" and "The End of the Whole Mess" were two of my favorites in this large collection. Overall a great read for fans of horror and Stephen King. Perhaps not his best short story collection, but readers will be sure to unearth a few gems that they won't soon forget.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Utterly horrifying and captivating. Author, Adam Cohen, digs deep to shed light on America's horrifying obsession with eugenics by outlining the supreme court case of Carrie Buck, a young girl who was declared "feeble-minded" and sterilized. At the turn of the twentieth century America's elite were infatuated with the idea of strengthening the American race by practicing eugenics on those undesirables that society wanted to get rid of: imbeciles, criminals, people with physical and mental defects, epileptics, sexually promiscuous women and more. Nazi Germany used America's eugenics rhetoric, research, and court cases as a model for their racial cleansing plan. By the time it was finally considered faux pas and barbaric, more than 70,000 American's had been sterilized, most without their consent or knowledge. Meticulously researched (although sometimes a little bogged down with details on key figures), this book is a scary piece of America's past and very timely as bigotry continues to rise again.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

United States of Jihad

An absolutely astounding and eye opening account of America's homegrown terrorists. Peter Bergen does a marvelous job researching nearly 500 American terrorists and breaking down why they choose to go lone-wolf or join a terrorist organization and kill others. He talks about ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and lone wolf terrorists not affiliated with any Muslim extremist groups. It puts a new perspective on a scary, ever changing subject. Bergen breaks down the appeals of different groups, what the government is trying to do to prevent terrorism, and what ordinary citizens can do to help curb the violence. It's a masterful book and it really makes you think. Here are some sound bites I found particularly compelling:

"... in the years after 9/11, an American residing in the United States was around five thousand times more likely to be killed by a fellow citizen with a gun than by a terrorist inspired by the ideology of Osama bin Laden."

"Among the 330 militants examined for this book, none of the generalizations hold. Their average age is twenty-nine; more than a third are married and a similar proportion have children; 12% have served time in prison, compared to 9% of the American male population, while around 10% had mental health issue, a lower incidence than in the general population. They are, on average, as well educated and emotionally stable as the typical citizen. They are ordinary Americans."

A fantastic and compelling book. A must read for our trying times.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Gritty, raw, and almost unbelievable. An urban coming of age tale that features several young black teenagers from the LA ghetto driving cross country to murder a judge for their boss. Their crew rolls four deep; East, the most level headed and obedient (also the story's protagonist), Michael, the oldest, yet least responsible, Walter, a fat geek, and Ty, East's younger hot headed brother. Together they must drive from California to Michigan, avoid getting busted by cops and somehow not murder each other on the way. Beautifully written and masterfully told this book will have wide appeal. Fast paced, and filled with strong, unforgettable characters this is one of the best debuts of the year.

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

Monday, April 4, 2016


The reviews on this were great so I was glad to finally get my copy and jump right in, I was not disappointed! It's a little bizarre (but in a good way), and it's super engrossing and fast paced. Two private investigators, Jim and Karl, find themselves in over their heads after the routine capture of a wizard. Soon they realize that he isn't the most evil thing they'll have to face, gangster vampires, werewolves, and the most corrupt of all... government agents. Thankfully they have the help of an odd little goat-man and Karl is able to transform into a bad ass demon when needed. Jim is just a smart-ass, but he has his moments. Will that be enough to save the day? Full of sarcastic wit and other odd little gems, this is a great new series. I hope there is more to come!


Besides the movie this was my first foray into the world of Deadpool and I was not disappointed. Some of the scenes in this collection were even part of the movie! While this collection was a little on the gory/violent side it wasn't too bad, I was expecting more language and sex jokes, but it wasn't too over the top. I wouldn't feel bad recommending this first volume to teenagers. This collection has Wolverine, Black Widow, Ant-Man and others in the Marvel universe so there is a little something for everyone. Deadpool is irreverent, sarcastic, belligerent, and hilarious. A great introduction and I look forward to reading more!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Why The Grateful Dead Matter

If you had asked me a decade ago if I ever thought that I'd be listening to The Grateful Dead or any other hippie jam band music I most likely would have laughed. I grew up a heavy metal kid and even though I am still a fan of screaming guitar and growling vocals, I've begun to branch out more musically as of late (we all have friends who are bad influences). Had I not read any other Grateful Dead material before this or had a tried and true Deadhead as a friend I would have had a hard time understanding what in the hell was going on in this collection. It's composed of 34 short essays on why The Grateful Dead is more than "just a band." The author talks about their live performances, their humble beginnings, their drug use, the academic study of them and the cult following they created. It's a touching tribute but I don't think that many non-Deadheads will be converted, it's a tribute for the millions of fans already out there. Some essays were miles better than others but this little collection will still please many a hippie and will have Dead heads nodding their heads in agreement at the amazingness and importance of the Dead.

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