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.