Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Life with Bob

As a lifelong bibliophile I devoured this book. Pamela Paul's essays about the transformative power books have on our lives rang true with me, from meticulously keeping track of all the books read to finding the right book when you need to judging people by books they do or don't love, I knew exactly what she meant. I do the same things and feel the same way. At times the author could almost come off as a bit pretentious with her literary classics and disdain for mass market popular paperbacks, but it's clearly not her intention. While I do not have such high brow reading tastes (I read all over the spectrum; from self published smut to feminist essays to pulp fiction, I'm an equal opportunity reader and once I start a book I never put it down), I could see where she was coming from. I too was in awe of the library as a kid, I took a book everywhere I went (still do) and I still feel a righteous zeal when I'm endorsing a book I absolutely love to everyone. A great book for bibliophiles, librarians, and writers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Lumberjanes: Band Together

What can I say about this series that I haven't said already. It's quirky, cute, and adorable. I will continue to read it. This volume features mermaids, bands, and fights with friends. It's honestly my favorite one that I've read in a while. Who wouldn't want to see a punk rock mermaid band?!?! Also, you get a little backstory on the five campers as it shows them arriving to camp.

Anne of Green Gables

I hadn't read this classic since I was a little girl and it was soo nice to revisit it. I forgot how charming Anne is and how happy her antics made me. As an adult I realize there isn't much of a plot, each chapter is a short story on some mischief or excitement that Anne gets up to, but honestly that makes it all the more charming. I am definitely inspired to read more of the series (I've only ever read the first one!) and to rewatch the show, although from what I hear I may need to avoid the new Netflix original. All in all a great re-read. It definitely holds up :)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Burntown

McMahon, Jennifer. Burntown. 9 CDs. unabridged. 11 hrs. Books on Tape. ISBN 9781524781620. 

McMahon (The Winter People) writes a spellbinding tale of murder, lies, deceit, in a seemingly charming New England college town. Necco (know to many as The Fire Eater) has lived on the street for years, ever since the flood washed away their home and killed her father and brother. Her mother insisted that they hide in Burntown (the seedy underworld of the city) in order to evade the grasp of the snake eyes man. Until her mother and boyfriend are found dead, Necco had been convinced that her mother had partaken in too much of the devil's snuff. But as she retreats further into the shadows of Burntown she becomes convinced that someone is truly trying to murder everyone in her family and as the last survivor, she amd her unborn child have never been more unsafe. Narrated beautifully by the Earphones Award winning, Abby Craden, who does a brilliant job bringing Necco to life and capturing the suspense and intrigue of the story. Fast paced and captivating, this thrill ride has just a touch of the supernatural to give it an extra edge. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Plank's Law

An insanely fast teen read, I had this bad boy knocked out in no time flat. I feel though for what it was trying to achieve, the book should have been a little longer. Trevor has Huntington's Disease and he knows it's only a matter of time before he kicks the bucket. Unsure of what to do about life he passes time watching sci-fi movies and not doing much of anything. Then one day as he contemplates jumping off a huge cliff he sees an old man telling him to just go on ahead and do it already. This launches their friendship and the old man introduces, Planks Law,  which is essentially "just live." Nothing fancy but Trevor takes it to heart and decides he wants to do something about all the items on his bucket list, most importantly, find a girlfriend. He eventually works up the courage to talk to the pretty smiling girl they see at the hospital and eventually they try to check different items on Trevor's list. I felt that the book was a little rushed, things happened too fast and it's hard to care about some of the characters who don't get a lot of time on the page. This is a good book for teens who like "The Fault in our Stars" and other " sick lit."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lumberjanes: Sink or Swim

Zany as ever, this collection introduces a new counselor (who happens to be a werewolf named Seafarin' Karen) and a a new group of supernatural nuisances, the selkies. The girls are determined to get a new badge and in order to do that the five of them need to work together on the sea. Once they find out more about the mysterious whirpools and and figure out what the selkies are up to, they just might be able to make a go of their badge. My only beef is that it looks like there is a new illustrator and things look a little off.

Bitch Planet: You Can't Jail the Revolution

This adult graphic novel series more than intrigues me. It's dark, unique, and relevant. I was even impressed that the book opened up with a trigger warning about an upcoming sexual assault scene, color me impressed. This book picks up right where volume one left off with Meiko's death and goes into her backstory and the important role that her father will soon have in the rebellion. Everything goes to hell and things are about to get even more violent then usual!

Goldie Vance vol. 1

This graphic novel series is going to be a delight. Goldie Vance is a mixed teenage girl who works at a hotel with her father. She parks cars and her father manages it (her parents are divorced). In her spare time she works for a detective agency in the building tracking down missing toddlers, lost bathing suits, and more. Things start to get interesting when a man reports a missing necklace and Goldie and her colleagues (fellow co-workers and the cute girl from the record store she has a crush on) realize that there is a lot more to the necklace then meets the eye. The missing necklace escalates to kidnapping, grand theft auto, and men in helicopters. It's a lot of fun and teens will eat up this Nancy Drew-esque spin off.

The Hate U Give

A powerful young adult book that has never been more relevant. Starr Carter too black for her white school and too white for her black neighborhood. She's constantly in the middle, afraid to let be too this or too that in front of certain people. That all begins to change one day when she and her friend are leaving a party and get pulled over. What happens next will haunt Starr forever, the white cop shoots her friend dead AND GETS AWAY WITH IT. Obviously this kind of injustice is in the media a lot which makes this book more timely then ever. Words can't describe how much I love this book and it's empowering message. Starr starts to find her voice not only to the media, but to her friends, family, white boyfriend, and classmates. This should be required reading. It's timely, impossible to put down (I read the book from cover to cover yesterday morning), and gives the disenfranchised youth a voice. Beautiful, haunting, and riveting.

Lumberjanes: Out of Time

Probably the weakest edition in the Lumberjane series to date, but overall not horrible. As usual they fight weird supernatural creatures in the forest, stumble across shady figures, and work together to put what little survival skills they have to the test. They may not all be book smart but they all love each other and can put their heads together in a time of crisis which is what they have to do when their camp counselor goes missing. Little do they know that she has been taken by an old scout and that things are not what they appear to be. A fun and light read.

The Passage

Holy cow. This might be my favorite book that I've read in 2017. What a knockout! Initially intimidating with it's sheer size (it's 700+ pages), I immediately felt myself drawn into the story. If Stephen King's "The Stand" and Richard Matheson's "I am Legend" had an affair this book would be their dark love child. It's the end of the world with a supernatural twist. There are twelve virals and they escape their research facility and cause mass chaos killing humans or else turning them into monsters like themselves. Survivors call them smokes, jumps, or flyers. There is also a little girl that can seemingly control them and is like them, but not. The story is told in multiple parts, through multiple perspectives and gets progressively more fascinating. It starts before the virals, during, and then decades after so we can get a glimpse of how humankind is adapting to these new deadly circumstances. I cannot wait to read the other two books in this trilogy!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

From Here to There

An enjoyable, challenging, and beautiful book of mazes to relax (and sometimes anger) you. They range in difficulties, some taking up two pages (getting across the seam could sometimes be a challenge) others only one page. They are all beautifully drawn roads through a variety of landscapes, country paths, cities, islands, castles, and more. And for those who are easily frustrated, fear not! There is a cheat sheet in the back of the book that has every maze solved. Overall, it's a gorgeous little book and is perfect for those who love brain games and beautiful art.

Monday, June 12, 2017

My Friend Dahmer

Supremely creepy, wonderfully draw, and hauntingly written. This memoir about going to high school with Jeffery Dahmer the notorious serial killer, will give you the heebie jeebies. Even in high school he was a loner, a weirdo, a spaz, but no one knew what he would eventually become. Author and illustrator Derf draws not only from his personal experiences but from his classmates, his school, case files, and later interviews. Using all that he pieces together the complex teenage-hood of Dahmer and the messed up home life and environment that helped turn him into a monster. This graphic novel doesn't go into detail about Dahmer's killings, it stops after Dahmer's first and only kill in Ohio. but it definitely motivates you to do some further research. Definitely a chilling read!

Original Gangstas

Words cannot express the badassery of this book. It's complex, a little overwhelming with the depth of rap history and all those who helped contribute to the gangsta rap movement, but holy hell this was an enlightening book. I've never been a huge hardcore rap fan (although I have my party staples), but this book made me take a better listen and actually appreciate everything that's going on. Author Ben Westhoff does an amazing job talking about west coast rap and the birth of gangsta rap by telling the stories, of NWA, Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy E, Tupac, Snoop Dogg, and the respective record companies: Death Row, Ruthless, and Aftermath. The research taken into this book is exhaustive and the author does an amazing job of piecing together these rapper's stories, their environment, and the culture that helped birth rap and give a voice to the disenfranchised. A wonderful, gritty, well written and engrossing read that even non-rap listeners will appreciate. West coast rap lovers, and those who loved the movie, Straight Out of Compton will EAT THIS UP!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Looking for Group

I'm generally not a massive fan of teen road trip books (I loathed Paper Towns by John Green), but despite my initial misgivings I found myself liking this book. There's a little romance, a lot of self-discovery, resilience, and oodles geek love (tons of World of Warcraft  terminology and asides, but everything is explained for non-gamers). While trying to register for school (after a lengthy absence from battling cancer), Dylan snaps. They're not letting him register without his mom and his mom can't be bothered to come help him so he decides to take the car and just keep driving. Unsure of where he's going he finally settles for meeting his online gaming friend, Arden, a few hours away. He has no other friends to speak of, so meeting Arden sounds better than nothing. Plus maybe they can go on a quest together. Together they decide to go on a crazy road-trip to California to find a lost ship of pearls. It's not really the destination that matters though, it's the journey. Arden and Dylan are getting used to seeing each other IRL (in real life) and they have some issues to work out. Dylan is a gay boy and Arden is a trans girl. Will all the flirting they do in World of Warcraft surface on their road trip? What do they make of it? Also what impact will their living situations and money situations have on their situation? A great book for gamers and LGBTQ teens. It's nice to see some diversity in YA books for a change.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Coach Wooden and Me

A heartfelt and moving tribute to the legendary Coach Wooden. Kareem Abdul-Jabar minces no words and puts his heart and soul in these pages. He talks of their ups and downs; Coach Wooden's encouragement, advice, and friendship. Not just for basketball fans, this book highlights how to not only take good advice, but to truly live it. Inspiring and heartfelt this book moved me to wipe my eyes more than a few times. Not only do you learn about Kareem's life, but you learn about Coach Wooden's, most importantly though the reader learns hows their lives intersected repeatedly until a solid friendship had been formed between a 7 hoot tall New York black man and a white hick Midwesterner. A Beautiful read.

Flying Lessons & Other Stories

A collection of young adult short stories by diverse authors. Edited by Ellen Oh, the co-founder of the we need diverse books movement, this collection contains short stories from diverse young adult authors such as: Walter Dean Myers, Kwame Alexander, Matt de la Pena, Tim Tingle and more. Touching on a variety of topics from Bigfoot, basketball, racism, girl pirates, and difficult family situations, this collection is sure to have something for everyone. An essential addition for diverse young adult literature and easy enough reading to attract even middle grade readers.

Oh Joy Sex Toy vol. 2

A great follow up to the first volume filled with more toy reviews, tips, interviews, and humor. Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan do a great job banishing any stigmas, uneasiness, or doubts about sexual toys, acts, or lifestyles. It's down to earth, funny, and unapologetic. There's nothing to be ashamed of and they want you to have a great time in the process. I would recommend reading the volumes in order because there are a few times when they flashback to something that's already been covered. Another fun installment. I can't wait for volume three.

Undefeated

This book was amazing from start to finish. I admired author, Steve Sheinkin, for his wonderful book, "The Port Chicago 50",  but "Undefeated" has turned me into an unabashed mega-fan. Sheinkin's writing style is amazing. I don't give a crap that his non-fiction is intended for young adults, they're easily accessible, filled with pictures, great writing, and eloquence, perfect for adults too. I learned SOO MUCH from this book. I had heard of Jim Thorpe and Pop Warner but I didn't really know diddly squat about them, let alone anything about the Carlisle Indian School Football Team. I'm not huge into sports, but that didn't matter, everything in this book was fascinating, from the beginnings of football, the ill treatment of Native Americas to the awful boarding schools forced on many of their children that wiped out language, dress, and cultural ties to their heritage; this book was a sports and history lesson rolled into one. WONDERFUL!

Monday, June 5, 2017

A New Model

A nice memoir/ self help type book that will appeal to bigger girls or those lacking in self-confidence. Ashley Graham broke down barriers by being one of the first truly famous plus size models. Not only does she do amazing catalog work, but she also graced the cover of Sport's Illustrated swimsuit edition, Vogue and Elle; a feat unheard of for plus size models. Ashley opens up about her childhood, her start in modeling, tips for self confidence, and things she's learned along the way. This book will also appeal to girls trying to get into modeling. At times it seemed a little heavy handed with all the name dropping but overall the message was good. Also included are pictures.

Middlesex

I LOVED THIS BOOK!!! It's a sprawling family saga that chronicles, incest, hermaphrodites, love, confusion, immigration, identity, and the human condition. I was hooked from the beginning. The audiobook also does an amazing job bringing the Greek-American accents to life and is wildly entertaining. The story follows Calliope Stephanides and the three generations leading up to her. From a small village on Mount Olympus to industrial Detroit, this family saga is a masterpiece. Every character is wildly unique, wonderfully developed, and worth cheering for. All the stories weave together to help explain the curious case of Calliope's hermaphroditic existence. Engrossing, wonderful and all around amazing. Definitely worthy of the Pulitzer Prize it was awarded!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

This is Really Happening

Not a bad little memoir filled with a collection of humorous essays by Buzzfeed editor, Erin Chack. Easily relatable, amusing, and wry this collection will appeal to teens and young millennials. Discussing a variety of mishaps, scares, friendships, and romance; Erin manages to find the positive in every situation. Whether it be cancer, peeing your pants, diva cups, almost getting eaten by a bear, or comparing your lover to a carrot, Erin Chack has got you covered. A quick light hearted beach read.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Hands on the Wheel

This wasn't really written poorly or lacking of a plot, the only reason I gave it 2 stars is that it's essentially fan fiction for 50 Shades of Grey. Instead of a hot millionaire dom, we have an attractive older truck driver. Instead of a naive young college student, we have a 42 year old hot divorced naive waitress with an ex who stalks her. Hank may not have a pleasure room but he has a pleasure cab with a bag full of toys that he used to use on his wife. Since his wife died, he's been alone and horny, but when he stops in Chugwater to eat he lays his eyes on the sexiest waitress and he knows he has to have her. Lucky for him she's looking to escape her ex-husband so she agrees to do whatever he wants in order to go on the road with him for a week (whatever he wants!! at this point they haven't even boned yet! she has no idea what's in store!). She wants to learn to drive a rig, plus she's super attracted to Hank, so she figures what the hell. Once they get on the road they start having lots of kinky sex (lots of butt play, high heels, and spanking) and they find that they might actually be falling for each other. For fans of truckers and erotica.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Footsteps

A wonderful literary tour book that can guide not only your imagination but perhaps inspire some literary travels as well. Essays cover hometown cities, travel destinations, and inspirations from poets, playwrights, and novelists in the past two centuries. At least a third (if not more) of the literary pilgrimages are in the US, but these are all taken directly from The New York Times so it's not a huge shock. Quite a few of the authors I had never heard of but became entranced with after reading what environments inspired them. I really enjoyed the Pablo Neruda and Dracula essays. Honestly there wasn't a bad one in the bunch and I feel like there was a bit of everything. Children's authors, poets, playwrights, Nobel prize winners, expats, and more are included. A great book to travel with, even if you get no further than your porch.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Feel Me Fall

If Lord of the Flies and Hatchet had a literary love child, this would be their baby. Gripping from page one, this book is impossible to put down and I easily had it finished in two sittings. A plane full of students and teachers on their way to a field trip in South America goes down over the Amazon and there is only one survivor. Emily Duran is wrecked with guilt and haunted by what went on in the jungle. In between nightmares and exhaustion she slowly starts to recount her harrowing trek to recovery, how the group of six survivors slowly narrows down until she's all that's left. Teamwork didn't come naturally to the ragtag team of survivors, especially since they are all from different social high school "orders." There is the jock, the stoner, the mean fat girl, the two best friends (Emily and her best mate Viv), and the weirdo who just so happens to be a survivalist. Instead of working with each other to survive, they start to turn on each other with disastrous results. Not only are the animals, rivers, and food potentially deadly, but now they practically need to sleep with one eye open. A heart pounding thriller that doesn't ease up until the astonishing conclusion. A wonderful read with a great twist!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Gwendy's Button Box

A short creative read by the "King" of horror. It's not what I was expecting, it's not scary but it's a little chilling and a little haunting. The novella opens with Gwendy running up the "suicide stairs." She's going to be entering the seventh grade soon and she's determined to lose her baby fat. At the top of the stairs a gentleman all in black sits on a bench. He introduces himself and beckons Gwendy to come over. Against all her instincts she does and he presents her with a beautiful little button box. One button when pressed will produce a small chocolate animal that satisfies the eater, another produces silver coins. The ones in the middle represent every continent and there is a black and red one as well. To press those is to cause calamity. Of what sort, Gwendy does not know. The man gives Gwendy the box as a gift, for it will change her life in wonderful ways, but it is also a huge burden, and over time it's all she can think about. What would happen if she pushed those other buttons. Can she keep her curiosity in check?

On the Road with Janis Joplin

Before reading this all I knew about Janis was: her nickname was pearl, she died young from an overdose, and I've heard like 4 or 5 of her songs. Basically I didn't know diddly squat. Some of the reviews have been unfavorable towards this book because readers feel as if the author talks too much about himself. Personally, I liked that. He validated how he knew Janis and he had an interesting life as well! He was her road manager through all three of her bands and he knew her as well as you could know her during the musical part of her life. They weren't always best buds but he was there for her through thick or thin and I think this book was an excellent chronicle of her musical life. I learned so much about her talent, her prowess, and her loving freespirited nature. I won't lie I even got choked up at then end even though I knew it was coming. A life cut short. What a shame. A great read that inspired to sit on the porch, drink, and jam out to her music.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This is What a Librarian Looks Like

I will admit that I am a little partial to this book because I'm one of the librarians featured in it, BUT that is not the only reason by a long shot! Kyle Cassidy has done an insanely impressive job compiling the essence and passion of librarianship into one beautiful coffee table book. Over 300 librarians from all over the world are featured and all have a gorgeous photo accompanied by a quote or statement on what being a librarian means to the. Some are wordy and eloquent, some are moving, and others are passionate pleas. Also included are mini essays from Kyle about different libraries and librarians, as well as essays from bestselling authors like Neil Gaiman John Scalzi, George R. R. Martin touting how libraries and librarians have helped their lives. A wonderful book that deserves a spot in very personal and public library. What an honor to have even been involved in this.

Oh Joy Sex Toy

A wonderful outside of the box read that had me hooked. Oh Joy Sex Toy is a comic collection of reviews on sexuality, sex toys, birth control, the sex industry, and virtually anything pertaining to sexuality. It breaks down sexual orientations, reviews the pros and cons of sex toys and how to use them, gives practical advice for dating and relationships, discusses the sex industry with porn stars, pole dancers, and more. This collection is wonderfully illustrated, masterfully written, and has never been needed more. It is open, honest, frank, down to earth, and instructive, there is no shaming or judging about lifestyle choices or preferences. I wish I would have had this book back in the day (not that I didn't find this useful now, i'm a grown ass adult and I learned PLENTY from this!) and I hope it finds a wide audience. I don't think the second volume is out yet, but I will absolutely be reading it when it's published. This was wonderful!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Mercies in Disguise

Kolata, Gina. Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, A Family's Genetic Destiny, and the Science that Rescued Them. 7 CDs. unabridged. 8.5hrs. Recorded Books. ISBN 9781501945366. 

Narrative nonfiction doesn't get much better than this. Gina Kolata, a New York Times science reporter, brilliantly brings a family's harrowing medical crisis to life and tells the story of how a brave young daughter decides to reshape her future and put an end to the genetic disease that had been killing off her family for generations. Kolata researches the history of the mysterious disease while concurrently telling the story of a loving family in a small town that appears to be harangued by bad luck. When the patriarch of the family dies under mysterious circumstances, his sons take matters into their own hands, trying to track down the mysterious disease and piece together their family tree to see what the future may hold in store for them. Compellingly narrated by Andrea Gallo who doesn't shy away from hard medical pronunciations and foreign names. Her soft, yet endearing voice provides a wonderful reassuring and authoritative voice. A wonderful read, even for those not interested in medical or scientific nonfiction. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Of Cats and Men

Gorgeously illustrated, this neat little hardback would be a great gift for the cat man in your lives. Filled with short biographies (1/2 a page) of cat men throughout history, quotes, and amazing illustrations this is an informative, beautiful, and heartfelt little book. I wouldn't mind owning some prints pulled from this book. Included are bios from Andy Warhol, Jean Cocteau, Nikola Tesla, Ernest Hemingway, and other impressive men from history, an interesting mix of authors, artists, and scientists. A cute, informative read that would make a good stocking stuffer. I absolutely loved it and would love to see more from this author/illustrator!

Marlena

Wonderfully haunting, and engaging; Marlena will appeal to both readers of young adult and literary fiction. Alternating between Cat's year in a new town, befriending the neighbor girl Marlena, and present day in New York City where she's struggling to maintain her married, working life without spiraling back into alcoholism, this book is exquisitely and beautifully rendered. Even though Cat finds herself being reckless and hero worshiping everything Marlena does from trying drugs to smoking to drinking and cutting class. Pulled from her fancy prep school and stuck in a small town with her older brother and newly divorced mother, Cat decides that it doesn't matter what she does so she wholly commits herself to Marlena and her scheming. Full of drugs, boys, school woes, teen angst, and true friendship, this book was appealing and haunting as you root for Cat and Marlena to grow up and leave that life behind. A wonderful book.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Small Favor

Man this series doesn't stop getting good!Jim Butcher knows how to keep it engaging by mixing in new and old characters to keep readers on their toes. There is so much character development, plot, imagery, and all around badassery. I have nothing but positive things to say about the tenth installment in the Dresden Files. Mab calls in a favor that Dresden is bound to assist with and he's none to happy about it. He has to find and bail out his nemesis, the crime lord Marcone. If that weren't bad enough there are some majorly bad demons in town. Last time he barely managed against a handful, now there are more than a dozen in town. Good thing Harry Dresden is used to going up against horrible odds. I can't wait for the next one!

The Gunslinger

This epic fantasy classic has been on my to read list for ages and I'm finally motivated to read it after seeing the movie preview. I know this is only the first book in the dark tower series but based off the movie preview there must combine quite a few of the books to get the first movie. Basically The Gunslinger introduces the two main characters to the series: The Gunslinger (Roland) and The Man in Black. The gunslinger is following the man in black across a long wasteland of a desert and trying to avoid the traps left behind by the man in black (quite unsuccessfully). The gunslinger is determined to track down and kill the man in black, but not before he gets answers. The two are from another world in another time, and besides the dark tower they are the only remnants of where they are from. As the gunslinger follows the man in blacks trail readers get a little back story on his past as he tells it to the people he encounters. He eventually finds a kid in the desert and together they set off to cross the mountains, right on the man in black's trail. It's kinda heavy, very literary, and leaves you with lots of questions. I guess I'll have to read the next one in the series.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Brave is the New Beautiful

Generally I avoid Christian self-help books, especially if they're written for and by women. Because I'm judgmental and sometimes I can't take much of the sexist, hippie dippy fake empowerment. But... every once in a while a great book comes along that makes me forget about all the self righteous mumbo jumbo I've read and makes me believe that books in this "genre" aren't all bad. This is one of those books. It was an incredibly quick and empowering read and it was never over the top. Blum did a wonderful job relating to readers that bravery comes in all forms and it's not just the public heroics that matter. Sometimes getting out of bed is brave. She shares her stories and stories from countless other women, some of which are truly heartbreaking. I teared up more than once reading this, especially the last few chapters. At the end of each chapter there are some reflection chapters which could be done as a self reflection or in a group. Honestly, it wouldn't make a horrible book club selection. I was pretty impressed with this, I'll actually keep it and re-read it. It makes you think of the world a little bit differently and reflect on yourself in a more positive light.

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Milan Miracle

This book wasn't what I thought it would be and I think I loved it even more for that. Based off the title I naively assumed that this would be about the 1954 Milan team that inspired the movie Hoosiers, but instead it focuses on Milan High School's current basketball team (2010-2011) and the struggles they face. Since the introduction of the class system in 1998 and even before that Milan, ceased to be the basketball powerhouse that it once was. Bill Riley follows the coach, the team, and the town for one whole season and tells of the ups and downs they face. It's a gripping high school basketball story, one markedly different then the legendary team that most people associate with Milan, but it doesn't make it any less important. Basketball is king in Indiana and books like this are just another reason why it will always remain that way. A wonderful read and I'm not even a sports junkie or basketball enthusiast.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Goodbye Days

One of the most beautifully written and heart wrenching teen novels I've read since John Green. With one little text, Carver accidentally kills his three best friends. Trying to cope and process the guilt and the sorrow is near impossible since his best friends are gone. He relies on his older sister but soon she's going back to college and soon he'll have to face everyone at school. He slowly becomes friends with the girlfriend of one of his deceased friends and together the two of them try to make sense of what has happened. Jesmyn makes music and Carver tries to return to his writing but his heart's not in it. Trying to do the mundane, every day tasks can be excruciating. While working on college applications, Carver write "One day I wrote a text message that killed my three best friends... Sure I've written a few stories here and there, but my masterwork was a two-sentence-long text message that ended three stories. I'm the only writer in the world who makes stories disappear by writing." To top it all off Carver might be facing accidental manslaughter charges because of the text. Beautiful, heart-wrenching, an absolute must read!

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

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Dead Little Mean Girl

I was such a huge fan of The Awesome (Eva Darrow's first book) that I had to get this one as soon as it came out. While it wasn't as good as her first novel (the bar was set too high), it was still pretty damn good. This teen novel opens with a nerdy girl finding her quasi step-sister laying face first dead on the garage floor wearing a skimpy hula girl costume. From there we get the complete back story leading up to the death from Emma's perspective. Emma was a shy, nerdy girl who liked blending into the background. After her parent's divorce her mother starts dating a woman who has a daughter the same age as her, when things get serious they all move in together. Quinn is a holy terror. Pretty, popular, and vindictive she is the typical mean girl. Emma tries to play nice but soon the two become mortal enemies. Quinn keeps upping the ante and trying to screw everyone over. After a blow out fight Quinn is left dead and Emma finds herself feeling.... remorse? An interesting take on regret, bullying, and mean girls. A laugh out loud funny, heartfelt young adult book that should be required reading for teens. I loved it.

Crack Money with Cocaine Dreams

I've been on an urban fiction/ street lit kick and while this fit the bill, it was poorly written so I couldn't quite lose myself in it. There wasn't much character development but at least the plot was decent. I think my biggest beef was that I couldn't quite connect with any of the characters. The story mainly focuses on the virginal coke queen of Staten Island. Messiah is 18 and comes from a very rich family. She could do nothing the rest of her life and be covered but she wants to put her brains to the test and make better weed (for her father's drug empire) and better coke (for hers). She's seeing a deadbeat boy but she gets the feeling that he's just hanging around her for the money and lifestyle. When she runs into Rasheed, a drug mogul and family man taking care of his niece and nephew, she discovers what it can be like being with a real man. There are some other players in the story but it mainly focuses on those two. It ends on a major cliffhanger but I don't know if I have it in me to finish out the series. Filled with drugs, hustling, designer clothes, and drama this book will appeal to those that like street lit.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Paper Girls 2

I may have honestly liked the second installment more! I love the older Erin! When the remaining three girls realize that they've been thrown forward in time, the first person they run into is an adult version of Erin. In 1988 there were no i-phones and flat screens and compact cars,and the girls are constantly in awe of everything, even though they think adult Erin is a little cray cray. Older Erin helps the three paper girls track down where their missing friend might be as well as help them figure out how to get back into their own timeline. Fun and different! I can't wait for the third one!

Paper Girls

I've seen this graphic novel pop up time and again but I didn't have the faintest clue what it was about. A teenage gang? Dystopian babes? Angry moms? It's really about a bunch of teen girls (under 15) who have paper routes and when something mysterious happens they band together to figure out what in the hell is going on. Long story short - aliens! alternative timelines! futuristic mumbo jumbo! It's all fun and games until one of the four paper girls (KJ) is taken away in a space ship after she's accidentally been shot. It's funny, unique, and wonderfully illustrated. My only beef is that they look waaay older then they actually are.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Thug Legacy

The title alone intrigued me and I will admit I was hooked from the get go. I haven't read much street lit/urban fiction. The closest I've gotten was Zane's "Addicted" and that definitely did not take place on the streets (just in the sheets), so I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. Thug Legacy is focuses on the younger generation of Legacy, Inc., the gang that runs the drugs in Chicago. Told through alternating perspectives of the hustling young thugs and their ladies, Thug Legacy focuses on the relationship they have with each other and their reputation in the streets. All the men have side bitches but are looking for or trying to keep their main bad bitch. Not one of the men in this book keeps his dick in his pants. NOT ONE! But the ladies are used to that kinda shit. They don't love it, they rage about it, break up with them, and make back up because they know that they're number one. Half of the bitches end up pregnant at some point (to the surprise of no one) and the men begrudgingly decided to make it work to protect their seed (no joke they kept referring to their children as their seed, over and over again). The story flows pretty well even though there are over a dozen different perspectives to read through. Lots of sex, drugs, respect, and relationship drama for sure. At the end there is a HUGE cliffhanger. So obviously you have to read the next one.... I know I will :)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

American Gods

Though it's size may be intimidating, this book was even better the second time I read it. Honestly, I liked it the first time I read it six years ago, but this time I really LOVED it! I kept seeing all the new trailers for the Starz TV adaptation and I knew that I had to re-read this before I saw it. The concept of this book is just insanely bad-ass. What happened to all the old gods that immigrants brought to America for thousands of years? They brought their beliefs, religions, and gods and slowly they stopped believing; trapping their old gods here. They're slowly dying out with no one to believe in them and they have a new enemy, the new american gods; greed, media, technology, etc. Shadow (a human) gets enlisted to help Mr. Wednesday as an errand boy and finds out more then he ever bargained for. He will help the old gods prepare to standoff against the new gods. Wonderful, witty, clever, and fucking brilliant. I love this book so much. I hope the show does it justice!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Everything Everything

Even for a teen book, I found this too cliche, unbelievable, and over the top. Madeline has lived her entire life in her home (complete with an air lock  and air filtration system) only having contact with her nurse and her mother. She suffers from a rare disease (skid) that makes her deathly sick to nearly everything so she must remain in her little bubble. Generally pretty content for a cloistered 18 year old, everything changes when she spies a new family moving in across the street. She falls head over heels for the hot neighbor boy and soon window gestures turn into IM'ing and eventually to secret visits while her mom is at work. The only thing Maddie has left to break is her heart, what is she doing?!?! Small twist at the end but you can pretty much see exactly where this book is headed. I don't even have any desire to see the movie.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Smells Like Weeia Spirit

The third installment in the Weeia Marshal's series is where the novels really seem to hit their stride. Danni Metreaux is finally in her element as the Paris Marshal, she knows the city, it's weeia residents and has gotten the hang of having a partner. Smells Like Weeia Spirit starts off with some unexpected guests. A Syrian mother and her two children have come to Danni seeking asylum, unsure of the protocol she houses them in her old apartment despite her bosses orders. Soon after that a weeia healer calls saying that someone has died under mysterious circumstances. To top it all off, a pushy headmistress calls and demands the marshals help with some weird incidents occurring at her elite weeia school. Danni and Sebastian can't catch a break, there is hardly any down time (although they do find some time for some delicious french cuisine). As if they didn't have enough on their plate there are odd reports of other weeias acting strange and showing off their superpowers in public. Are all these events related? Can Danni keep her boss and her conscious happy? Is the solution to their problems right under their nose? A wonderful installment and honestly probably my favorite one to date. Elle Boca goes above with her descriptions of Paris, the food, and their culture. Truly a pleasure to read and contains a nice little mystery.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Down Town

Great artistry and fun new story from Jim Butcher. I liked this graphic novel much better than the first one I read, mainly because some more of my favorite characters were in this one: Molly, Mouse, Marcone, his sexy vampire brother. They were all illustrated pretty close to how I figured them in my head and they talked and acted just like they do in the novels. A fun short little story with illustrations to back it up. I need to read all the graphic novels in this series!

Homesick for Another World

A bizarre collection of short stories, each more unique than the one before. From alcoholic high school teachers to creepy old neighbors to alien children, Ottessa Moshfegh's collection of short stories will intrigue you with it's dark humor, perceptive look into the underbelly of humanity, and wonderfully developed flawed characters. Storytelling at it's finest.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things

Dickinson, Amy. Strangers Tend To Tell Me Things. 7 CDs. unabridged. 9hrs. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478912514. $30.00. 

Amy Dickinson pulls the curtain back on her personal life and treats readers to a glimpse inside the life of the woman behind the world famous daily "Ask Amy" advice column. Finding it easier to give advice then it is to take it, Dickinson relates a deeply personal memoir about love, loss, and coming home to her quaint town of Freeville, New York (see her previous bestseller "The Mighty Queens of Freeville"). Poignant, emotional, funny, and relatable, "Ask Amy" writes a moving memoir that will appeal to anyone whose ever suffered through divorce, middle age, child rearing, aging parents, falling in love, and more. To err is human and Amy makes mistakes and hilarious mishaps (which she gleefully relates) so that her readers don't have to. Narrated by Amy herself, who brings poise, laughter, and personal experience to the telling of her story. For fans of women's relationships and memoirs. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Striptastic

For some reason I've always been drawn to sex worker's memoirs, prostitutes, strippers, pin ups, burlesque dancers; you name it. Jacqueline Frances second book (the first being a hilarious memoir) is part graphic novel, part stories, part tips, part everything stripper. She draws hilarious comics to go along with her sections, whether it's about the different kinds of tippers, the tools of the trade, stories from strippers all over the world, surveys, advice, funny stories, etc. It's a fairly quick, funny, delightful read and is perfect for strippers, friends of strippers, or anyone just plain curious about the stripping lifestyle. I can't wait to see what magic Frances comes up with next!

One Day We'll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter

I was hooked from the get go. Having just read Shrill and other memoirs by Jenny Lawson, Mindy Kaling, etc. this was the perfect fit for me. This memoir by Scaachi Koul, a first generation Indian immigrant living in Canada was heartfelt, hilarious, and impossible to put down. I read it in less than a day. I especially loved the stories about her parents and her zany yet loving, upbringing. I grew up close to a loving Indian family so I know a smidge about their culture, food, and festivals and Koul's stories took me back. Koul also talks about hard subjects like: rape, alcoholism, gender bias, growing up ethnic in a white neighborhood, and struggling with body image. Each chapter is filled with wit, wisdom, and lil' nuggets that will get you thinking. Definitely keeping around for a re-read.