Saturday, December 16, 2017

Fum

This book went from crazy to bizarre in no time flat. It was well written but it seemed that it was written for adults instead of it's younger intended audience. A seven foot giantess is having a hard time fitting into her school. Literally and physically. They even had to have a second bathroom built for her after she broke two normal sized toilets. One day she starts to have visions of calamities that will befall her small town. One by one they start to come true but they come with a cost, she is suspended from school, feared by most, and disdained by her mother. There are a few side stories that don't mesh well with the plot or seemingly have anything to do with it. There is her favorite author, an older ex-convict she befriends, and the random disappearance of her brother. This story has charm but it's all over the map for me. The end was also a little startling.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ghost World

I saw the movie adaptation years ago but I had never made it around to reading the comic. The color and inking are impressive, as are the emotions and dialogue that the male author, Daniel Clowes, gives to Enid and Rebecca, two recently graduated high school girls. This comic doesn't necessarily have an over arching plot but it does show how their friendship, blossoms, hides, and gets complicated during one long summer where they struggle to find out what they each mean to one another. It's funny, insightful, and honest. They pass time checking out new restaurants, speculating about the town weirdos, and planning a future. It's well worth a read.

The Wife Between Us

Definitely for fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the train. It's suspenseful chick lit with a big twist (actually there are several) that keeps you guessing to the end. It's hard to summarize this book without giving anything away but there are two women and a man. One woman is an ex-wife and the other is about to be a Mrs. to the same gentleman. Only maybe he isn't a gentleman. Or maybe his ex-wife is just as crazy as her mother was. Or maybe there is more to the story then the narrators are letting on. The narrator's are unreliable and will leave you hanging, only by pushing through will you understand the dark implications of the previous marriage. I would have given this a higher rating except that I didn't love either of the women. I just wanted them to get this shit sorted out. Not bad though, I didn't see the end coming (but then again I never do!).

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

We Have Always Lived in the Castle

I have a lot of feelings about this book and I'm not sure what they mean. It was dark and creepy and I mean... WHAT THE HELL!!?!?!?! Constance and her younger sister Merricat live in the Blackwood manor with their elderly Uncle Julian. They live a secluded life since most of their family was murdered six years ago as they sat around the dining room table (sugar... the sweet unsuspecting sugar killed them all!). Merricat walks into town twice a week for provisions, but other than that they live a lonely existence filled with books, food, and each other's company. Thankfully Merricat has a rich imagination and a large yard, she is free and happy (she's eighteen but acts MUCH younger). When their cousin Charles comes for an unexpected visit, things suddenly starts to go sour. The story is told through Merricat's eyes and her decisions and thoughts and revelations continue to get darker and darker as the story continues. There is more, but really just read this damn thing and call me so I can have someone help me through this. NOT a light hearted read!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Artemis

I was soo nervous to read this since I loved The Martian so much. I was unsure that any follow up books by Weir could compare to that masterpiece, but I needn't have worried! This book was the bomb! I wish I could give it 4.5 stars instead of 4. This book is super different from The Martian, but also very similar. The lead character Jazz, is a twenty six year old Saudi Arabian living on the moon. She is a smart ass, sarcastic, genius. I love her. She has lived on the moon since she was six in the city of Artemis. She's not very high ranking in the grand scheme of things, she's at the bottom of the totem pole work-wise. She's stubborn and unwilling to use her skills to obtain a better job since she is still insistent on sticking it to her old man and making it on her own. She's a porter and in her spare time she smuggles illegal Earth items in for wealthy citizens. Her skills as an underground smuggler and her savvy business ethics lead one of the richest men in the city to hire her for a secret mission, from there, everything goes wrong. This book was soo funny and smart and I genuinely loved all the characters. The amount of world building in this is monumental and believable. I LOVED this!

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Power

Poignant, powerful, and wonderfully different for a change. For once, women are the power hungry, the dominant, the top of the food chain. Eerily reminiscent of The Handmaid's Tale and other dystopian literature, The Power chronicles the female ascent to the top. Worldwide young girls are discovering that they have the power to release electrical charges, effectively shocking other people, sometimes to death. They also discover that when they shock older women they have the power to waken the dormant abilities. Soon women all over the world have this power and for once the men know fear. Told through multiple perspectives over a ten year span we see a female mayor aspiring to be governor, a young teenage girl with stronger raw power then anyone has ever seen, Mother Eve a prophet of the power, and a journalist, the lone male voice in this book. Together their panic, amazement, and greed tell the tale of how men became the weaker sex and the movement that changed the course of history forever, Wonderfully fresh and inventive. I loved it!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Boston Jane

In middle school I was so enamored with this book that I read the whole book from start to finish EVERY night for a week. It resonated with me, I loved the characters, the plot, the romance, the adventure. I am soo pleased that even reading this book as an adult holds up. It is soo good! At sixteen Jane leaves her father behind in Boston and sails to the wild frontier of California to meet and marry William, a former apprentice of her father. When she arrives to the bay her betrothed is nowhere to be found. And the settlement is only a trading post and a local Indian tribe. With no other options she puts all her etiquette skills to use, mending clothes for the men, trading with the Indians, and trying to figure out cooking. All the while there is a handsome and rugged sailor who has his eye on her if she'd only notice. Lots of action, hilarity, and character development. I can't recommend this enough!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The 57 Bus

A pretty solid nonfiction book for teens that explores social justice (and injustice. Two teens are bound together after one horribly thought through mistake and their lives are altered. Sasha is an agendered teen who occasionally wears skirts, Richard is a black teen from the  crime ridden part of town who decides to get his friends to laugh. One afternoon while riding the 57 bus through Oakland, Richard sees a dude in a skirt sleeping at the back of the bus and thinks it might be funny if he got part of the skirt to smolder. His plan backfires horribly when the whole thing catches on fire in a blaze and endangers Sasha and the bus. He is arrested and charged with a hate crime, while Sasha must undergo multiple surgeries to save her legs. The 57 Bus tells both their stories and aims at getting the reader to think about justice and fairness, and even forgiving others.

The Blinds

A bunch of criminals who have had their memories erased live in a small secluded settlement in the middle of a Texas desert with no contact from the outside world. No one knows they're there and they themselves don't remember who they were. They're part of an experiment that wants to see if the mind can truly be erased and if hardened criminals can really change their stripes. For the seventy or so residents of The Blinds life is alright if not a little boring. It's always the same people to talk to, the same magazines and books to read. The only thing current is the news which they can watch to their hearts content. Fran is sick and tired of the same routine every day, she always think she might leave, but she doesn't have the money or the contacts to stay. When she was taken into The Blinds eight years ago she was pregnant and her son, the only true innocent, is the only child in the place. It's a lonely existence. Things gets shaken up when a resident is murdered at the bar. Suddenly everyone is on high alert. Was it the four new residents brought in the day before? Was it an outsider? Who knows who they really are? It's fast paced, unsettling, and raises great moral questions. A fun, inventive read.

Monday, December 4, 2017

American War

I literally read this book in one sitting this morning. I woke up, made coffee and did not move from the sofa until it was finished and I only had 20 minutes to get ready for work. This was an entirely engrossing read about arsonists and the county they terrorized. It's about love, hate, economic decline, and the American dream. A string of over 60 fires breaks out in a small county, the volunteer fire departments worked over time, citizens mobilized, and people feared for their property. For five and a half months people lived on the edge of their seats. Remarkably nobody was killed or injured in any of the blazes. Wonderfully told, this nonfiction novel will suck you in.

Killers of the Flower Moon

DAMN! This book was worth the hype! I loved The Lost City of Z, so I'm not surprised that I loved this as well. It's dark, disturbing, wonderfully researched and written. It's truly a marvel about a dark and bloody part of United States history. This book investigates the murder of dozens (the number is likely in the hundreds) of Osage Indians during the twenties as greedy white Americans tried to wrest oil rights from them. When some of the richest oil fields in the world were found in Osage territory, the tribe suddenly became some of the wealthiest people per capita. Try as they might the government couldn't force them to move or to take their oil away from them so greedy white neighbors hatched a plot to slowly kill them off. Local officials were crooked and it took Hoover sending over some of his investigators to help curb the deaths. It's a dark and sordid take that's worth remembering. I can't give this book enough praise.

The Pearl Thief

The narrator made this book even more exciting for me, I LOVE foreign accents especially when they're Scottish! I'm also a huge fan of Wein's two other young adult novels, so I knew I would enjoy this book. Unlike her previous two novels, this one is not set during World War II, it is set in the Scottish Highlands in 1938. Sixteen year old Julie has come back from boarding school to assist her family in clearing out their ancestral estate. After a lengthy bout with cancer, her grandfather had died and bankrupt his family with medical expenses. The giant manor will be turned into a boarding school and Julie gets one more summer to explore and experience the estate. While there she suffers a perplexing head injury which she has no recollection of, a man is found murdered, and she befriends a group of traveling gypsies. It's wonderfully written and I loved the archaeological aspects of it as well as the character development. All around wonderful!

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I did not expect to fall head over heels with this book. It seemed too gossipy or chick lit or something, but the reality is that it freaking SUCKED ME IN! Evelyn Hugo is an aging actress in New York City and she has decided that it's time for a tell all story. She gets an up and coming journalist to come over under false pretenses and then begins to tell her whole sordid life story, one husband at a time. It's fascinating! Not just for romance and culture, but from a historical perspective it's also exciting to see old Hollywood in all its backstabbing finery. Evelyn Hugo is a complex, selfish, frank, and refreshing person, she's easy to love, hate, and emulate. There are some jaw dropping moments and a hell of a twist at the end. A surprisingly great read, I definitely want to check out more from this author!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pashmina

I'm glad to see more diversity in teen graphic novels and the illustrations bordered on manga style which may garner a wider teen audience. The story was pretty solid and discussed themes of cultural identity, women's rights, family issues, religion, and bullying. It is a perfect fit for teens trying to fit in and discover their place. Priyanka is a teenager with lots of questions, why does her mother hang out to their cultural identity, yet refuse to ever go back to India? Where is her father and better yet, who is he? Very well done.

Scarlet Witch

I didn't know what to expect with this comic so in that regard it's not much of a let down. It was very underwhelming. I guess I was still expecting more of a superhero vibe since it's Marvel but that assumption was very wrong. It's very... witchy, I mean she is a witch and all so I don't know why I was surprised by that. Instead of fighting monsters, and evil villains, the Scarlet Witch is fighting demons, trapped souls, and fellow witches. I may have read it a little too fast, but I wasn't 100% following the whole plot of this first installment. The illustrations were great, but other than that I wasn't in love with this. Oh well!

Fliers

This collection of 20 small posters is an eclectic and weird mix of signs that have "big thoughts." I wasn't really in love with it. Some were way more clever than others. The pages are all printed on heavy card-stock so they can be easily removed and framed or hung in your house. They're funny and clever, but not exactly something that would like nice hanging on your wall. Maybe in a dorm room. The book jacket unfolds into a big poster of a telephone pole so you could theoretically hang up your favorite flier on there. Included are fake lost posters, wanted signs, existential questions. They're all written in sharpie and feature black and white photos of the lowest quality imaginable. Again, it's not something you'd probably want to hang up unless that is your sense of humor. It would make an okay gift for someone who is into weird shit like this. I have very meh feelings about it.

Shakespeare Saved My Life

Even though this book was really disorganized and jumped around, I really thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn't so much a memoir, as much as it was a story about a maximum security inmate whose life changed by attending a Shakespeare program in prison. Laura Bates, a college professor, started going to a maximum security facility in Indiana and teaching Shakespeare to inmates in solitary. She discovered that they responded really well to reading and analyzing the Bards work. One inmate in particular, Larry Newton, provided insight and analysis that was almost better than top scholars in the field. With no access to spark notes, foot notes, or scholarly opinions, he started formulating his own. He had nothing but time on his hands and really dug deep into the meanings behind everything, and this is from a killer who never completed middle school. Through her work with the inmates and their eagerness and excitement to learn, both parties end up changing for the better. A feel good read that makes you think twice about felons capacity for change.

American War

I was a little confused at the beginning of this book, but once I understood the timelines and the backstory, the whole thing fell into place. American War brilliantly captures what a second Civil War could look like if the south rose again at the end of the twenty first century. It's bleak and full of diseases, dependence on fossil fuels, drone warfare and the stubborn resistance of those in the south. Told by a nephew of Sarat Chestnut (an infamous southern fighter), American War is a flash back at a pivotal event that prolonged the Civil War and killed millions of people. It's a look at morals, war atrocities, survival, and family. It's fast paced and interspersed with historical documents that help explain what is going in the world while the South is trying to fight for independence. An interesting, exciting, and timely read!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Caramel Murder

I was looking for a cozy Christmas mystery and although I got what I asked for I hated it. This was almost too cozy. This is the twentieth Hannah Swensen book and by god, does someone die every month in this small town? Is Hannah always the one tripping over bodies? Why do the police let her run her own parallel investigations when she clearly has no formal training? Why is she such a goody goody meddler? There is no tension or real intrigue in this mystery. Readers are spoon fed a watered down Christmas time murder. Of course it happens in a small charming town, where everyone is in everyone else's business. This mystery is lukewarm at best. Also, included are recipes that sound interesting, but I will never attempt. Very meh.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Genuine Fraud

For a teen read this book had lots of twists and turns and murder. I dug it. The story is kind of like the movie, Memento, it humps around in time, but mostly it moves backward, towards the truth. Jule is a chameleon, she can be whoever you need her to be and she's strong and smart. Imogen is a spoiled heiress who never questions anything. Together they have an unusual friendship, one that makes more and more sense as the story progresses. It's a story of deception, entitlement, smarts, money, lies, and eventually... the truth. The audiobook was a solid listen. A good follow up novel from the teen author of the smash bestseller, We Were Liars.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Since We Fell

I feel like there is more than one story in here. I didn't particularly like the first half but by the time I got to the second half it's a thriller and everything has turned on it's head and I got jacked! I really enjoyed the story once the pacing picked up, but it was like two separate stories were mushed together. A reporter turns recluse after an embarrassing meltdown on live TV in Haiti and her divorce. Then she runs into a private detective that she hired when she was younger and was trying to find out the identity of her father. The reporter and the former PI get married and everything is fine until Rachel discovers that her husband may be lying and leading a second life. Once that happens shit hits the fan and everything picks up quickly. Overall not a bad read.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Sick Life

The first parental advisory CD I was ever allowed to purchase was TLC's "Fanmail" and that album was FIRE. "No Scrubs" was my jam and even though I came late to loving TLC, I was definitely a fan. I was even excited to see them open for New Kids on the Block a few years ago. That being said, I never knew much about the pop group, I knew that one of them died and one of them sometimes got sick but that was about it. "A Sick Life" goes into T-Boz's story about her childhood, her battle with Sickle Cell, the formation of TLC, and her children. It was all pretty inspiring and fascinating and it helped that the audiobook was narrated by T-Boz herself. I definitely gained a new appreciation for TLC's music, this was a nice blast to the past and a must read (or listen) for all 90's kids.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Code of Honor

Totally unbelievable, but 100% enjoyable and fast paced. I can definitely see this book being popular with teens. Kamran has it all, he's a a football star, homecoming king, and has a smoking hot girlfriend. But that all comes crashing down when his older brother joins up with terrorists. He had been in the military but suddenly he's on the news making demands, condemning the US, and standing by while an innocent journalist is beheaded. Everyone writes him off, except for his brother. Kamran is convinced that his brother is giving him hints in the video and that he's being held hostage. Instead of being at high school, Kamran is now working with the US government and trying to get them believe that his brother is innocent. But will it be enough? Can they rescue him and stop the terrorists before they kill people? Short chapters, fast paced, and deals with hard themes like culture, religion, and judging others who are different from us. Surprisingly good!

Otherworld

I'm astonished at how much I loved this book. I got sucked in from the get go and raced through it to see how the story could possibly get solved (spoiler alert it's in the first of a series). I also couldn't believe that Hollywood actor, Jason Segel, wrote this. How cool! Apparently he's also written other  books as well! This book is like Ready Player One and Westworld if it had been written for teenagers. There is a new virtual reality called Otherworld and it's just been released on the market to 2,000 lucky beta testers. Simon and his best friend (and romantic interest) Kat, get to be some of the lucky first few to experience it. Real life is so boring is boring compared to realness and power of Otherworld. But when Simon discovers that this may be more than a game and it has the potential to kill certain players during the testing phase, he is determined to go back in there and save Kat (who at this point, is being forced to stay in the Otherworld against her will). Engrossing, funny, imaginative, and surprisingly believable; this book will garner teen fans and quite a few adults too. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hiddensee

CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Why did I trick myself into reading this utter nonsense?!?! Why?!?!!? After Alice (his Alice in Wonderland adaptation) was bad enough (another 1 star review) but I was lured in by the premise of a backstory to the nutcracker. I'm an idiot! I should have stayed clear! My god, this story  hardly anything to do with the nutcracker and the first 200 pages was about a boy named Dirk wandering the countryside, no mention of A nutcracker or THE nutcracker OR Christmas. NOTHING! ZILCH! Literally dumb. I hate this. I'm never tricking myself into reading his stuff again. Avoid if you know what's good for you.

Hardwired

This seemed soo similar to 50 Shades of Grey to me. Not because it's erotica, but because it's about a young hot inexperienced college graduate (with a few problems in her past) who is relying on a super attractive billionaire to fund her fledgling start up. Of course they get involved. Of course he's controlling. Of course he's AMAZING in bed. Of course he is going to school Erica in the ways of business and lovemaking. Lots of hot unbelievable sex scenes, followed by even more unbelievable plot. It ends on a cliffhanger to make you want to finish the rest of the series. Didn't work for me though. If it keeps up the similar story-line to 50 Shades, I know exactly where it's headed. A nice steamy, brainless read.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

One of the lames Jane Austen spin offs I've read in a long time. I will admit, I picked this book up solely because I love Jane Austen and I love Christmas. I didn't even bother to read the description (which was obviously a mistake). In this modern day Christmastime Pride and Prejudice adaptation. Darcy Fitzwilliam, one of the wealthiest and influential women in New York City comes back to Pemberly, Ohio for the holidays for the first time in eight years because her mom is sick. After she failed to marry her high school sweetheart, Caleb her father disowned her and took her out of the will so she went to New York and became rich and powerful on her own. She hates Pemberly, but thankfully her best friend from high school, the sassy gay Bingley, is in town so they have a good time catching up while her mother recovers. Also she runs into Luke Bennet and he is a stunner. Maybe something will happen with that. Ugh. It's a nightmare. I didn't even care what happened to anyone.

Black Hammer

This was similar to Watchmen in that it's not about superpowers and superheroes, it'a about the people behind the mask. It's set up very well and it's no trouble to follow the story line with all the flashbacks and dialogue. The illustrations are amazing and the characters are bad ass. I really can't wait to see where this series goes and I'll definitely be keeping up with it. The premise is a bunch of superheroes have been stuck on a farm in this small town unable to leave. They keep their powers hidden from the townsfolk, but after 10 years it's wearing them all down. Their trying to escape, but even if they can, what is left for them out there? All around awesome!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Scooby Apocalypse

I've been on a Scooby Doo kick this year. I re-watched the entire first season a few months ago and read "Meddling Kids" an adult spoof and everyone's favorite teenage gang of crime solvers. I thought Scooby Doo Apocalypse might be some more of that but I was wrong. It's entirely different. The gang didn't know each other as teenagers and they only come together because evil genius, Velma had been working on nano-technology when some scientists re-wired it and caused it to be bad. Velma reached out to Daphne's low rated cable mystery show (Fred is the loyal filming assistant) to help expose what was going on in her secret high tech lab. Unfortunately all hell breaks loose and everyone starts turning into monsters. Shaggy and his genetically enhanced dog, Scooby, help the three escape the lab alive. Now the five of them must rely on each other for survival because it looks like the whole world has gone mad. So yeah... completely different. They even made Shaggy a giant hipster. Not horrible, not great, I may check out volume two.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strange Weather

This might be one of my favorite short story collections and it may have beaten out The Fireman as my favorite Joe Hill book. I LOVED this collection. There are four short stories and all of them are simply amazing! I don't know which one I like the most? They are all so unique and inventive, and creepy, and all around insanely good. I know I'm gushing here, but I can't help fangirling all over this short story collection! It's money! There are four short novels in this collection.

Snapshot made my skin crawl. A nerdy awkward teenager confront a man who owns a unique Polaroid camera that has the ability to erase your mind one snapshot at a time.

Loaded will make you angry, it's a story we've all heard before, an innocent young black man was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and "looked guilty." Fast forward two decades and the witness to that crime is about to see a whole other gun drama unfold before her eyes. It's gripping and the end is maddening. You won't be able to stop thinking about it.

Aloft is about a skydiver who gets stuck on a cloud that is only trying to make friends. It's bizarre and imaginative and I LOVE the concept of this one!

Rain reminded me so much of Kurt Vonnegut's, Cat's Cradle! Instead of Ice 9, the sky starts raining needles. Denver is very nearly obliterated. The badd ass lesbian heroine in this might be one of my favorite characters. All around great apocalyptic novel.

Buy this. Read it. Talk to me about it. I'm in love!

Quicksand Pond

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. 6 CDs. unabridged. Recorded Books. 2017. ISBN 9781501940347.

Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle brings to life a story of summer friendships, small town preconceptions, and the choices that define us. Jessie Kettel's father is determined to make the most out of their summer vacation by uprooting his kids from the city and renting out a decrepit old cabin by a dingy old pond for a few weeks. Jessie is immediately entranced by the pond and finds an old raft on which to explore the secrets of the swampy land. It's there she discovers Terri and the two become inseparable, fixing the raft and learning about each other. The more Jessie gets to know Terri though, the more concerned she becomes. Terri is from a no good family and everyone knows that they're always in trouble. As things start to fall apart, Jessie starts distancing herself and begins questioning her own feelings and convictions. Although intended for a middle grade audience, the novel reads more mature and may lose younger readers. The story isn't very fast paced, but there is rich character development with Jessie and Terri. The narrator's youthful voice helps capture the innocence and excitement of the young girls. Not for everyone but will appeal to more mature middle school readers, not for content but for plot, dialogue, and character development. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN


Monday, November 6, 2017

The Keto Reset Diet

There is a plethora of self help, diet, and cook books, but the Keto diet promises to shake all that up. "Hopefully" this isn't a new fad diet because it seems pretty promising. The premise is you cut out carbs and eat high fat foods and slowly you trick your body into eating the fats. This diet promises to leave you satisfied as it is truly high fats, moderate protein, and minimal carbs. It's supposes to help reboot your metabolism completely and change how it's been working. Included in this book along with the science, the implementation, and advice, are over 100 recipes. They very in kitchen skill level and some even sound pretty good (I have not made any yet). My only complaint is that the book didn't seem very vegetarian friendly, but really I'm in the minority here so I wasn't mad, just something I've come to expect. I can gauge the effectiveness of this diet because I've only read the book and not implemented it, but on appearances this plan seems a lot more sound then others! 

Long Way Down

Easily one of the best books I've read so far this year! Utterly compelling, impossible to put down, and packs one hell of a punch. This teen novel in verse discusses gun violence in such a way that leaves no room for argument, it demands to be heard and felt. Will's older brother Shawn has been shot and killed and it falls on Will to exact vengeance. He has to he has no choice. It's part of the rules.
1. No crying
2. No snitching
3. Get revenge no matter what
It's what his brother would have done. So he takes his dead brother's gun and heads to the elevator to leave the building and take out his brother's killer. But it's a long way down and he must pass seven floors. On each floor, a victim of gun violence enters on the elevator. Sixty seconds. Seven floors, Three rules. One gun.
AMAZING! Seriously can't stop thinking about this book. It's giving me the chills.

Walking Dead: Book Fourteen

Another stunning addition to the Walking Dead collection. I'll admit it took me a minute to gather my bearings and remember what happened in book thirteen since it had been quite a while since I had read it, but it did come back rather quickly. This book follows the ongoing battle with the whisperers (who are creepy as fuck!) and we see a huge growth in Negan's character. Not only is he finally free but he is working with Rick and is seemingly on his side! Is this a long term ploy? Probably, but right now it seems pretty damn convincing. We have one major character death and a massive zombie herd coming straight at Alexandria.Overall, pretty damn good. I can't wait for book fifteen!

The Book of Barb

A cute little coffee table book with lots of amazing illustrations. This book contains a short essay on the iconic Stranger Things wing woman with virtually no screen time, along with lots of other fun little sections. There is a quiz, advice, makeup tips, a playlist, lots of illustrations, What would Barb Do, and loads of other creative things. It's a little short and I could have used more, but I'll take what I can get. The illustrations alone make this gem worth buying. A must own for any dedicated Stranger Things fan. I better see a Bob book soon!

I'd Rather Be Reading

This little gift book is adorable and a must have for all bibliophiles. It contains a few short essays on the joy of reading, lots of gorgeous drawings, prints, and cartoons celebrating the greatness of books, and quite a few quotes from authors and poets on being a bibliophile. All in all it's a small cute book, that will make a great addition to any coffee table, book shelf, or display. I'd love if I could get some of the art bigger and framed around my house, it's that good!

Girl Waits With Gun

Cute, inventive, and hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the escapades of the three Kopp sisters, even more so when I discovered that this story is loosely based off true events! When an automobile collides with a horse and buggy and the buggy is ruined, the eldest sister, Constance, decides to take matters into her own hands and get the thug who was driving the car to pay. Little does she realize though that this thug is not to be messed with. Soon come the threatening letters, shots fired at the house, bricks thrown into windows. The girls finds themselves in over their heads. They turn to the sheriff for help before things escalate too quickly. My favorite character is the youngest sister Fleurette, who has a wonderful knack for creativity and seeing the positive side in everything. An enjoyably quick read.

Sense and Sensibility

Re-reading this book just solidified my opinion that it is the best of the Jane Austen novels. I know everyone has their hearts set on Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy, but I believe that her first novel is raw and real and much more relatable. It truly remains as fresh a cautionary tale today as it ever was. The Dashwood sisters learn that the path to love isn't always straight and narrow and sometimes you're heart has to be broken for you to appreciate how whole a heart can be. Filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, and unforgettable romance, this is a book readers won't soon forget.

I really enjoyed discussing the book with my library Jane Austen Book and Film Club, we talked about how societal obligations have changed but the heart has remained the same and then we watched the Masterpiece Theater version. Overall, a must read. And if you haven't watch the 1995 movie version. It's amazing and you won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

Written in the same style, voice, and intensity of the original trilogy, the fifth book in the Millennium series was still a little lackluster for me. I thought the dueling story-lines were a bit much and I didn't care for the characters as much as I had in the past. Also, I noticed that Lisbeth Salander is becoming less and less of a central roles in these books. That being said, I didn't hate it. I was intrigued enough to keep going and try to figure out how the story would conclude and to discover the hidden links that merged the two plots together. Of course we have Blomkvist, the ever persistent journalist digging deep and following the thread as well as a few new characters and villains. Not great, not bad - here's to hoping I like the sixth one better.

Friday, October 27, 2017

First Crush Last Love

The premise of this book can be easily summarized by the title alone. Told from alternating perspectives and over the course of a decade, this romance novel tackles a variety of topics, childhood abuse, suicide, AIDS, and domestic abuse. Those themes are threaded throughout the novel as Jessie and Lee grow apart and live separate lives after high school. After her teenage crush went nowhere and Lee disappeared after high school graduation, Jesse married the next guy that gave her the time of day. From the beginning there were warning signs that the relationship was anything but healthy. Lee on the other hand escaped his abusive stepfather and became a cop in Chicago. While their lives couldn't be anymore different, they are about to align again at their ten year high school reunion. Is that spark still there? Have the two changed too much in their time apart? A pretty standard romance novel with a few "romantic" scenes (nothing too steamy), a damsel in distress, and a hot troubled lover. Romance fans will eat this up.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Here's Negan

Here's Negan FINALLY gives us the backstory that we've been craving for, for so long! It's not anything like I expected, but honestly I don't know what I was expecting. In this short comic we find out that Negan was in fact a gym teacher, as well as a smart mouthed, cheating, asshole husband. He changes his tune though when his wife is diagnosed with cancer and he tries to become a better person and is for once, completely devoted to her. While she is dying in the hospital the zombie apocalypse occurs and slowly we begin to see bits of Negan that we know and love, emerge. He didn't become a bad-ass over night, but he still came around pretty quickly. A must read for all Walking Dead fans.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Fierce Kingdom

Damn this book made me tense! I was feeling physically ill and nervous, like I was experiencing all the hell written on the page. Fierce Kingdom is about a normal day at the zoo turned nightmare. A mother and her four year old son are enjoying a late afternoon at the zoo when they hear gunfire. Thinking that it must be fireworks or something else they ignore it, but as they're trying to leave they discover dozens of bodies that have been shot down. When the reality hits that there are active shooters killing people and animals indiscriminately, Joan goes into flight mode. She has to hide her and her son and keep him quite, but will that be enough? Does she try to help other people or does she only worry about her own child? Can they escape? Where are the police? How can she keep her son from having a meltdown? Fast paced and tense, this book will leave you on the edge of your seat!

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

This inspirational Regency romance was a surprisingly quick read. I also neglected to realize that this was the third in the series until after I finished it but that didn't seem to matter as I understood the story perfectly well and didn't feel like their were any missing pieces. Clara was forced to flee London and any prospects of marrying again after she befell some unspeakable scandal. The seaside does little to mend her broken heart until she encounters a dashing man who happens to save her life one stormy night. She soon begins to encounter him again and again as she has become friends with his younger sisters, and tries in vain to avoid opening her heart to him. Captain Kemsley isn't in high standing like Clara's family and doesn't have money or fancy titles to offer her, but worse than that is the scandal surrounding her, she'll be mortified if he ever discovers her past dark secrets. If she allows her faith to take flight and her new friends to guide her, there is no telling where it might lead her heart.

The Massacre of Mankind

The idea of this is awesome and the fact that they got permission from the H.G. Wells estate is insanely cool. It takes major chops to write a sequel to a beloved sci-fi classic that is over 100 years old. Thankfully Stephen Baxter seemed to fill the shoes quite well, writing a fun sequel that, while it is not as great as the original, surely stands up to it. In this new take the aliens have learned from their previous mistake and they've come back to Earth to make humanity pay. It's been nearly two decades since the invasion and Earth has gone right back to the way things used to be, no one even giving a second thought to the aliens returning someday. Walter Jenkins is convinced that the first invasion was just a scouting mission and that they will one day return, unfortunately he is proven right. A fun follow up to a classic.

The Halloween Tree

Hands down the greatest Halloween book ever. It always holds up, ALWAYS. Nothing gets me in the Halloween mood more than this classic. It's written with such imagination, prose, and imagery that it sucks the reader right in and takes them on the same incredible journey that 8 young boys go on one Hallows Eve. The creepy and mysterious Moundshroud takes the young boys on a journey back in time to relive Halloween in all it's variations, celebrations and changes. To Egypt, Ireland, England, France, AND Mexico; they journey on the scariest night of the year to save their missing friend Pip and to discover the true meaning of Halloween. No one can weave a tale like Ray Bradbury can and make you feel the breeze in the trees, see the jack o lanterns swaying, and smell the pies cooking. Even the movie adaptation is a classic. I can't wait to share this book with my future children (as of yet unborn and unplanned).

Hotel Scarface

Holy hell was this an exciting and interesting book. True Crime doesn't get more "fun" than this. Hotel Scarface traces the origins of the Cocaine Cowboys in South Florida, their quick rise, the blizzard of cocaine users in Miami, and the amazingness of The Mutiny at Sailboat Bay (a hotel, club, and restaurant). The Mutiny was where all the drug lords, smugglers, vixens, celebrities, and dirty cops hung out and my lord, to have been a fly on the wall. The Mutiny was the hub in the early days of cocaine and even the movie, Scarface, models itself off The Mutiny and the eccentric characters that would gather there. The cast of characters in this nonfiction true crime book is extensive and can get a little overwhelming at times, but it is definitely worth getting through because this book is full of bizarre little tid bits and over the top lifestyles that could of course not be kept up forever. Extensively researched, wonderfully written, and compelling as hell, this is a must read!

The Flintstones

I wasn't sure what to expect with this, but I certainly couldn't pass up a DC adaptation that looked fun and funky. The comic covered many surprisingly relevant topics and was very... modern for a stone age family. Religion, monogamy, marriage, work ethics, the price of war and our obsession with "stuff" were just a few of the many social satire commentaries brought up in the comic. At times, it was a bit heavy handed, but it was witty, funny, and very refreshing. It definitely changed how I thought about the vintage TV show. I don't know if I liked it enough to keep up with this series, but it's definitely worth checking out. There are some pretty great one liners and parodies.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Ellen Foster

Raw and unflinching, this story told through a young girl's eyes will captivate readers. Born to a depressed mother and abusive alcoholic Ellen learns to fend for herself and to depend on the kindness of strangers, especially on the colored family down the road. When Ellen loses her mother she isn't shocked or surprised she just further goes into survival mode, bouncing from one household to the next, trying to find someone willing to care for and love a ten year old. Set in the south during the sixties, this book is sure to generate lively discussion. It's a quick read and Kaye Gibbons does a wonderful job viewing the world through a child's imagination. Witty, charming, and precious.

God Hates Astronauts

The more bizarre a book or a comic is the more apt I am to love it. This was no exception. It's over the top ridiculous, makes virtually no sense is filled with bizarre plot lines and even crazier characters. There are 5 super heroes on a team, but virtually everyone else they meet is either a mutant half breed or has powers of their own. There are cheeseburger eating tigers, a starman with a ghost horse head, a cop with gorilla arms, unidentifiable creatures and more. It's insanity and you should probably read it because there is no way that I can describe what in the hell is going on.

Caroline

Straight up a must read for any grown up Little House fan. This book did not disappoint! Caroline is told through the perspective of Ma and it starts right where Little House in the Big Woods ends. We saw Laura's carefree nature, Pa's strong unwavering love, Caroline's fears about giving birth in the plains with no other females around to assist her. This goes into more detail about the little things that readers always wondered but never knew, how the family went to the bathroom on the road, how childbirth went on the prairie, how the house was built, what was really going on with the Indians. It beautifully ties in with the series and lends an adult viewpoint to the stories we love so well. I would love to see more books that feature Caroline as an adult narrator, this was lovely!