Friday, December 14, 2018

Crazy Rich Asians

I couldn't put this book down! It's only making me more hyped for the movie (which I have held off seeing until I read the book). This novel mixes the snobbery of Downton Abbey and The Devil Wears Prada and mixes it with Jane Austen and The Princess Diaries. It's a light romantic comedy, filled with pitfalls and misunderstandings. Rachel agrees to spend the entire summer with her boyfriend, Nick, visiting his relatives, attending a wedding, and sightseeing in Singapore where he is from. There's only one catch, Nick has never told Rachel about his family. Little does she know that his family is like royalty and they have more money then she can comprehend. Billions of dollars! Every event they attend is more mind boggling than the last. Rachel didn't even know that people could live that way! Nick's mom is aghast that her son would date some commoner and does everything she can to get Rachel out of the picture. Witty, full of drama, couture, and snobbery. I loved this. I'll have to continue with the series.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Nine Perfect Strangers

This Liane Moriarity book is so over the top and outrageous but you can't put it down. Even though the plot got more and more ridiculous as the story progressed, I LOVED the characters. Nine people decide that they are stressed and need a lifestyle change, so they sign up for a ten day cleanse at Tranquility House. It's a gorgeous estate in the middle of nowhere and participants will be treated to divine meals, massages, nature hikes, star-gazing, and meditation. The nine participants (all strangers) soon discover that there was a lot on the agenda that they most certainly had not signed up for. Silence, daily blood tests, fasting, and more unorthodox methods keep popping up. Soon the strangers kind of bond together as they try to get through their weird cleanse in one piece. There is a romance author who will soon be out of work, an ex football player, a family trying to cope with loss, a mom trying to rediscover herself after her husband took off with a new trophy wife, a young couple in dire need of counseling, and a devilishly handsome gay lawyer. Full of fun, a nice beach read.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

Unlike the Flintstones and the other Hanna-Barbera imprints at DC, this comic was super bad-ass (wait I forgot about Scooby Apocolypse, that too was cool). The Snagglepuss Chronicles was unlike anything I expected. It's set in the 50s at the heart of McCarthyism and Snagglepuss is a playwright who isn't playing by the government's rules. He'll give them sass but not the list of names they want. He has just as much to lose as everyone else, Snagglepuss is gay and like his friend the esteemed author, Huckleberry Hound, he has to hide that, because to the American public it's almost worst then being a communist. Inventive, wonderful storyline. Nothing at all like cartoon, yet... dare I say.... better?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told

I wanted to give this more stars, but I wasn't the hugest fan of the book. It was very conversational and jumped around a lot. There was a lot of interrupting, boner talk, and reminiscing. It was like a casual conversation. I'm sure the audio is drastically different from the print book in that there is a lot of spontaneous talk that you can tell was not included in print. On the upside we got some music and a bonus chapter, on the downside we missed out on all the cool pictures. It was neat hearing all about Nick and Megan's relationship, this just felt like more of a podcast then a book. Still fun though and it is awesome that it is narrated by the two of them. I will also say that this is far more than just their love story, it's part memoir about childhood, acting, family dynamics and other tidbits. They get their romance out of the way in the first third of the book.

The Flintstones vol. 2

I wasn't in love with the first volume, but I figured I'd give this series another go. Still not a fan, but it was interesting to see the social commentary they bring up; from religion, to economics, to family dynamics, war, and materialism. For being light-hearted it could get a little heavy in the stone-age. Very satirical, at times, amusing, and far deeper than the original cartoon ever was. It's ok, but it's just not my jam.

Dry

This book was gripping from the get go. From page one, I was thirsty and paranoid. Dry is terrifying in that THIS COULD HAPPEN! We're already slowly killing our environment (some would argue, not that slowly)and Dry shows what would happen if part of the country ran out of water. At first a mild panic sets in, but then you think this won't last, help is coming. It can't be that bad. But as the hours drag on and the death toll starts rising, everyone turns into animals. Water is something we all take for granted, but without it death is imminent. Told through the perspectives of five teenagers trying to navigate their way through this crisis and survive, Dry is downright scary. It's a dystopian novel that could happen tomorrow. In that regard it's very similar to Ashfall by Mike Mullin, in which the eruption of a super volcano turns the US into an apocalyptic nightmare. These things could happen. Read this with a bottle of water. For your own safety.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sommelier of Deformity

Really this book is 4.5 stars because I doubt I'll be able to stop thinking about it anytime soon. Imagine if Confederacy of Dunces had a love child with Pornhub and Tumblr. Thankfully the main character is more redeemable and likable than Ignatius, but there are many similarities between the two. Buddy is twenty-eight years old and still living with his mother and grandfather. Since his Puppa has become too aged and decrepit to take care of himself, Buddy has taken over as the man of the family. He lords over their routines with hilarious ferocity, making sure everything is to his satisfaction. He rarely leaves the house accept to visit his occasional paramours and the library. His lucrative tech job can be done from the safety of his chambers and the only people he really converses with are his family. One of the reasons Buddy rarely leaves the house and has no friends is because of his appearance; he's not just ugly, he's hideous. Everything about him is misshapen and wrong looking, but he makes do with what he can, becoming a sommelier of deformity. Buddy's routine is thrown into a tizzy when his mother becomes smitten with the new home nurse, who happens to be (gasp) black. Buddy is shaken to his very core. This cannot be! Terrence's appearance throws the family dynamic off and it is all Buddy can do to keep functioning. Little does he know just how much he's about to come out of his shell to protect himself from this intruder. Hilarious, insightful, weird, and wonderful. A fantastic read.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Sugar Land

Stoner, Tammy Lynne. Sugar Land. 9 CDs. unabridged. Brilliance Audio. 2018. ISBN 9781978649071. $24.99. 

A southern coming of age story about learning to come to terms with life and what makes your heart ring true. Set in the twenties, a young woman named Dara escapes from Midland, Texas only to run straight into a prison. Dara works in the kitchen and tries to put her past and her great romance to bed. She fell hard for her best friend but is too concerned with what the consequences could be if anyone ever discovered her attraction to girls. Safely ensconced in a prison filled with men, Dara soon befriends Leadbelly, a blues singer destined for stardom, and learns that love is what you make it. Sugar Land follows Dara's journey over the decades as she learns to do more than accept the lot life has given her. Brilliantly executed by the talented Donna Postel who throws just the right amount of southern charm into this novel of acceptance and love. Courageous, captivating, and charming, filled with characters that readers won't be able to stop thinking about. For fans of LGBTQ+ romance, historical fiction, and southern charm.  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Monday, December 3, 2018

In the Hurricane's Eye

I couldn't put this down! Of all the wars, I know the least about the Revolutionary War, which is a damn sham because my undergraduate degree was in history. Philbrick does a wonderful job taking a generally well known story and fleshes out all the small nooks and crannies you probably weren't aware of. This historical non-fiction book focuses on the importance of the navy during the revolution, even though the United States didn't have one. The presence of the French navy and many of George Washington's shrewd battle decisions were what really turned the tide of the war. For years the British had been clearly winning, but had yet to strike the crippling blow. The arrival of the French fleet and the subsequent victory at Yorktown changed all that. An engrossing and enlightening read. Not just for history buffs!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Silver Queen

It's been a minute since I read the first book in the Sovereign series, but one chapter into The Silver Queen and it all came rushing back. It was like picking back up with friends who I hadn't seen in a while. There is no time lapse between this book and the first, but it is one you most definitely need to have read the first one to understand this one. It's a complex story line and readers jumping into this one would become easily lost. The Gilded King ended with the last uncontaminated city becoming tainted by treachery and blood. Julia is one of the few uncontaminated humans left and chaos is breaking out as the Nobles fight each other over the quickly dwindling blood supply (uncontaminated humans). Outside the walls of the city is only more destruction; Cam has taken several trusty silvers with him to go out into the Red to rescue his Queen and try to bring order and safety back to the city. Operating with the same alternating story lines (Cam and Julia); it's great to see the view of the world through such different perspectives. Action packed and full of betrayal, death, romance, and adventure. This is a high fantasy that readers won't want to miss out on! I can't wait for the third installment!

Full Disclosure

I couldn't NOT read this book. I had to know! I had to! And Stormy does not disappoint. It's ridiculous, a little trashy, full of drama, and I adored it. Trump is not the MAIN focus of this book, of course he has key importance, but Stormy does more than just center on him, she goes into depth about her shitty childhood, what led her into stripping, and then eventually porn. She talks about her many romances, her love for horses, how much she has overcome, and of course Trump. Trump and his weirdly shaped dick. Ugh. Stormy is a bit of braggart, I did this, then I did this, and omg can you believe I did this? But if you overlook all that, she has had one hell of an interesting life.

Monday, November 26, 2018

In the House in the Dark of the Woods

Maybe I'll just chalk this up to me not being smart enough to understand all the finer nuances. All I know is that this was lyrical, confusing, pretty, and haunting. None of those should go together but they do. I only picked up this book for the artwork and that's where I screwed up, lol. It's a "suspenseful" fairy-tale that's equal parts creepy and equal parts confusing. A young wife goes into the woods to pick berries and gets horribly lost. She wanders around and is eventually helped by a woman named Eliza, who lives in a creepy ass cottage. There's Captain Jane, a weird bird, a girl in yellow, and others, but honestly this story got a bit too weird for me. I can't even find the strength to summarize it. Hard pass.

Last Christmas in Paris

I find novels written in letters beyond charming and this World War I novel was charming. It very much reminded me of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in that two charming characters fall in love with each from a distance. Evie is a young woman with too much energy to be pent up at home while her brother and his best friend goes off to war. She starts writing them both immediately, trying to keep their spirits up and live vicariously through them. She's stuck at home attending tea parties, knitting scarves for soldiers, and writing the most humorous and heartfelt letters to Will (her brother) and Tom (his best friend). As the years progress and the tone of the war changes, she starts to find herself falling for Tom, but she's pretty sure it's one sided. What would Tom ever see in his best friend's younger sister? Romantic, thrilling, and full of wit and charm, this novel will be sure to charm readers.

Lady of a Thousand Treasures

Inspirational readers will be a big fan of this historical fiction involving, murder, theft, intrigue, romance, and a dash of adventure. Miss Eleanor Sheffield is practically running her late father's antiquities and appraisal shop. Her uncle is in declining health and it's on her and another young man to keep the business afloat. Many of the aristocracy and wealthy have reservations about a young lady's knowledge in treasures, but she was trained by the best, her father. When a large estate of treasures is placed in Eleanor's care to decide whether the collection should say with the deceased man's son or go to a museum, she finds herself torn. The son in question is her former crush, and she fears she still has feelings for him. What's a girl to do? If that wasn't complicated enough, counterfeits keep cropping up, and she discovers that bills have gone unpaid. How will she ever keep her family's business open? A delicate, inspirational romance with lush atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Fox 8

I don't know what I was expecting, but I will admit, I picked up this book because it was small and it was beautiful Fox 8 is a dark short story about an endearing fox who is enamored by humans. He sits outside of a house night after night listening to the mother read to her children and over time Fox 8 learns how to speak like a "Yuman" and read. He puts his newfound skills to use for his pack to discover what is going on to their forest. Land is being clear and there are more trucks and white boxes every day. Soon their environment is gone and they are starving. Fox 8 is not so impressed with the yumans now. A chilling tale from a cute wolfs perspective on humans screwing up the environment.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

I ADORED this book! It now ranks as one of the most moving coming of age stories I've ever read. It was poignant, heartfelt, and filled bits of humor and unique ways of looking at the world. Francie and her younger brother are no stranger to poverty. They've been dirt poor, but have found ways to find the beauty while surrounded by dirt. They live in Brooklyn, New York with a hard working mother and a lovable drunk father who is good hearted but useless. Francie is an odd child, she fiercely loves her family, loves learning, and is always questioning. She has grand dreams about being an author or a playwright and she loves to write. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is loosely based on the author's childhood in pre-World War I New York which doesn't surprise me at all. The voice of young Francie is so knowing, so delicate, and so well understood. A wonderful novel.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Smoke City

Ridiculously original, I can't even think of a book to compare this too. Joan of Arc's executioner has been reincarnated time and again and finds himself living a droll existence as a record store owner in Portland, Oregon. Marvin has never lived past 57 so he knows his time is near. He's all but resigned to the fact when he sees a woman on a daytime talk show claim to be Joan of Arc reincarnated. Is this it? Is this Marvin's chance to break the cycle of reincarnation and make amends for killing Saint Joan? He starts to hitchhike down to LA to find Joan of Arc and in the process joins Mike Vale, a former art icon and current drunk. Their road trip turns out to be more than adventurous. Their trip is dotted with smokes, ghostly apparitions that are starting to appear on the east coast. Know one knows what smokes want, but they they don't hang around long. Hundreds appear and disappear and a sense of doom is falling over California. Ghosts, booze, sarcasm, and a 14th century reincarnated executioner make this novel and unforgettable and fun read.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Same Kind of Different As Me

A quick inspiring read about two men with nothing in common, finding, they do in fact have things in common. Denver is an illiterate, black, homeless man who grew up as a modern day slave working for the man in Louisiana. Ron is a famed international art dealer with more money then he knows what to do with. When Ron's wife feels called by God to start helping others, Ron goes along for the ride. He begrudgingly starts handing out meals at a local mission. While there he encounters Denver, but Denver wants nothing to do with him. The streets have made him hard and he doesn't have time for rich people trying to make themselves feel better by helping the homeless. Slowly though, Ron's wife pushes the two of them together and they realize that they have more in common then they ever thought possible and start to genuinely appreciate each other's perspectives on life. A little hokey, but I'm probably just a jaded cynic.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Two Dark Reigns

This series continually hold my attention. The plot really thickens in this one! Instead of just fighting each other, they have a new enemy, the mist. The mist that has been guarding the island begins to attack the islanders without mercy. Over on the mainland Arsinoe begins to have weird dreams of the Blue Queen and she begins to feel the pull of the island. She convinces Mirabella and Billy to go back with her to the island, but they have no idea what is in store for them. Back on the island the warriors are convincing Jules that she should lead the uprising as the Legion Queen and Queen Katherine is having one hell of a time keeping the dead queens inside of her in check. All in all, it's another great installment and as always it ends with a cliffhanger!

Something in the Water

Very much in the style of Lisa Jewell and other contemporary female thriller authors, Something in the Water keeps you guessing at the outcome until the end. When Erin and her husband go on their honeymoon they make a shocking discovery while scuba diving. Do they pretend they saw nothing or do they take what they find?? One bad decision follows another as the two British newlyweds find themselves in heaps of trouble. They have to sleep with one eye open as the trouble begins to seep into every outlet of their lives. If only they had gone somewhere other than Bora Bora! Pretty fast paced all the way until the end (which I did not see coming).

Consumed

I thought I would enjoy a light fluffy romance with some steamy scenes, but even I was under impressed with this. Maybe I wasn't in the right mood to read this, but whatever the case, I was not a fan. The plot was very predictable, there were far fewer sex scenes then I would have anticipated, and I was over the firefighter shit from the first chapter. I feel like I'm being unfair to this book. I'm sure it will garner lots of fans. It wasn't even badly written, it just did nothing for me. Anne was a firefighter until an on the job emergency cost her her hand. No longer able to be one of the boys (aka a firefighter), she undergoes intense physical therapy and becomes a fire investigator. One of her cases leads her back to Danny, a smoking hot firefighter she once had a one night stand with. Now she is lusting after Danny and having to watch her back, because her one case is going to put her in danger. Cliche. Cliche. Cliche. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The Grapes of Wrath

Alternative title: Running Over Animals and Slowly Starving. This tour de force about trying to survive during the great depression is eloquent in it's simplicity. The Grapes of Wrath follows one family as they are forced off their farm and decide to head to California to try and find work there. Handbills promise plenty of work but they soon discover that not everything is as stated. They are just one of tens of thousands who are down on their luck and desperate to survive. The Joad's suffer one set back after another, just when they think they may be able to make it, something runs them over (karma for all the animals they run over on the road - RIP roadkill). This large family is traveling in a truck with all their worldly possessions and a dwindling amount of money. Reading this you just want the family to be able to settle down, because like all the other poor people they encounter on their travels, they are hard working, nice folk. It's just hard to succeed when the deck is stacked against you. A wonderful, heartbreaking book.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

I'd Rather Be Reading

I'm always easily charmed by any odes to reading and this little book charmed me from the first page. Filled with essays, anecdotes, little drawings, reading lists, advice, and stories, this love letter to books is a must read for any bibliophile. As a reader I could relate to everything Anne Bogel so eloquently wrote and I can't wait to read more of her work. A great little volume!

Elevation

I thoroughly enjoyed this short story by Stephen King. It takes place in Castle Rock (the setting of many King tales) and features a man who is slowly losing weight. In itself, that isn't very odd, but the puzzling aspect is that his mass is still staying the same. Every day he loses a pound or so but his muscles and physique don't change a hair. Scott Carey doesn't know what to think so he consults his friend who is a retired physician and he is just as puzzled as Scott is. At first Scott is worried, what will happen when the scale says zero? But soon he accepts fate and works on living his best life and trying to improve the lives around him, particularly the lives of the lesbian restaurant owners who live right next to him. Maybe he can work on making his conscious as light as his body. A charming, unique story that not just King fans will enjoy. 

Sex Criminals: Five Finger Discount

I love this series, but this was my least favorite so far. It's slow build up and I'm getting really annoyed with some of the characters. Suze is dating the most boring and bland guy and Jon doesn't appreciate his uber kinky ladyfriend. Gasp, maybe they still miss each other??Also, Suze's ma is super into her sexual side and Suze is maybe talking to her dead father via an old dial up computer. What in tarnation is happening?!?!

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

A really good coming of age novel for teens. Specifically Latina and female teens. Meg Medina does a great job writing for teens, I felt like a teen reading it, she really inhibited the teen mind. Pissy Sanchez already has it tough when she finds out someone named Yaqui Delgado wants to kick her ass. Piddy is already pissed that her mom made them move and now she has to attend a new school and she is separated from her best friend. Now to top it off, a fellow Latina at her new school apparently doesn't like the way that Piddy shakes her rear while she walks and wants to beat her up. This teen novel does a great job explore the intricacies of going through puberty, heartbreak, teen friendships, self-esteem, and parental struggles.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Check Please

A cute, endearing graphic novel that will find a plethora of fans. Check Please is a graphic novel starring a young baker/vlogger/figure skater/hockey player that is thrilled to go away to college and meet new friends. He immediately feels at home with his new collegiate hockey mates and they accept him in no time. How can they not when he keeps baking them pies? He's  having a harder time though on the ice then he thought he would, Bitty is terrified of getting hit; in his high school hockey league there was no checking; but now that he's in college he's going to have to accept taking a few hits and helping his teammates to help out. Cute, laugh out loud funny, inventive, and impossible to put down; I can't wait until volume two comes out. I have to find out what will happen between Bitty and his crush (the hockey captain!).

All Quiet on the Western Front

I feel that it's very fitting that this book is often lauded as the greatest war novel of all time. To me it also read as the greatest anti-war novel (besides Slaughterhouse Five) because after reading this dark, chilling, DEPRESSING account of what it's like going to war, why on earth would you ever want to enlist?? One very interesting thing I noticed while reading this, is that patriotism or fighting for your country never came up. At all. They weren't protecting the fatherland, they joined because it was expected of them, they didn't have any deep desire to show off their patriotism. All Quiet on the Western Front showcases several young German men on the front lines during World War I. They're fighting in the trenches, enjoying the little things in life (food, companionship, and cigarettes) and wondering where on earth their youth went. Two years of seeing the unimaginable, suffering every malady, and losing friend after friend has them questioning everything from why they are there to what they plan on doing if they are lucky enough to survive the war. A fast paced read that everyone should read.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Likely Stories

I haven't been in love with all the Neil Gaiman graphic novels and this latest is no exception. The stories just aren't that riveting or exceptional. Likely Stories contains four short graphic stories; one on venereal disease, one on a weird raw meat eating neighbor, another on the world's most attractive nude model, and the last on a haunted playhouse. What connects the four stories; is a small out of the way after hours club, where stories are exchanged and people go to be seen or go to hide out. The illustrations are great and the stories themselves are OK, they're just not great. Only read if you're a real die hard Gaiman fan or have some time to kill.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The Adults

Two exes, their child, and their new partners decide to go on a camping holiday over Christmas. What on earth could go wrong? Everything, that's what could go wrong. Very similar to Truly Madly Guilty in format; The Adults alternate between police report snippets and the events leading up to "the shooting incident." Matt has been wanting to see more of his daughter Scarlet, so he convinces his ex-wife and her boyfriend to join him and his girlfriend on a holiday adventure. Along for the ride is Posey, Scarlet's imaginary giant purple bunny, and a lot of mixed emotions. Patrick and Alex immediately feel like the odd ones out, did their partners really ever get divorced? How are they so chummy? One mishap after another starts to derail their holiday plans, but readers will keep reading to see how they finally got to the breaking point. Hilarious, ridiculous, and in good fun, The Adults was charming, albeit a bit predictable.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Essential Sports Nutrition

Whether you're an avid athlete working out five hours a day or a yoga enthusiast working out a few days a week, Essential Sports Nutrition has a little something for everyone. While it can be a little dense and "sciencey" in areas, the after chapter summaries do a great job outlining all the key points and takeaways. This book includes recipes, tips on how and what to fuel up on, how to create a meal plan that works for your body and your unique active lifestyle, and so much more. It's a comprehensive guide that manages to not get too overwhelming. Reading this opened my eyes to so many factors that can affect your health and diet such as time of year, bodily changes, types of food, etc. This book will definitely inspire you to make healthy changes. Even incremental steps are better than no steps at all! A must own guide for anyone that is remotely active, there are no fad diets, or sketchy meal plans, everything is science based! 

Mammoth

I adored this book from start to finish. I really identified with Natalie. She's a teen-aged fashionista and paleo geek. She's also plus size and SUPER aware of it. She makes and assembles her wardrobe like it's her armor. She has to feign her confidence even if she doesn't feel it, because she refuses to go back to being the "frumpy fat girl."Natalie is about to have the summer of her dreams. She won a scholarship to be part of a prestigious paleontology internship in Texas and she can't stop geeking out. Paleontology and fashion are her life, it's all she's posting about on her "fossilita" blog. When she arrives in Texas, she is a little self conscious but beyond excited. There are even some cute guys in her internship. She quickly learns though, that in a field so dominated by men, she will have to do whatever it takes to stand out. In the process, she'll finally stand up for herself. Charming and well written. I loved this book and I loved Natalie, whose sass and earnestness will win over readers!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Hocus Pocus and the All New Sequel

I had higher hopes for this, but it wasn't the worst. I know that's not much of a selling point, but it's hard to follow up the movie. The movie is just so perfect that any follow up will fall under intense scrutiny. The first half of this book was completely redundant, it's rehashing of the movie, frame by frame. Skip ahead to part two where the story actually begins. Poppy is Max and Allison's daughter. Her whole life she's heard about the horror of the Sanderson sisters and the evils of Halloween but she's never really believed her family. Would you? It's just too insane. So on Halloween she and her two good friends (one of which she has a HUGE crush on)  decide to get into some mischief and break into the Sanderson house. It's not like magic is real, it's just a bunch of hocus pocus! What could go wrong on the blood moon, twenty five years after her parent's killed the witches? The answer is a lot.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Paid For

A hard read about a hard, unimaginable lifestyle of prostitution. Rachel Moran holds nothing back when she delves into her past as a prostituted woman in Dublin. Paid For is far more than a memoir though, it's an in depth, scholarly look at the history of prostitution, implications of working the sex trade and so much more. It's narrative non-fiction at its best and Rachel Moran has the authority and no-nonsense attitude to tackle it head on. She easily breaks down myths and rumors that surround the sex industry and pulls from research to help back up her personal experiences. I've read other prostitution memoirs and books written by sex works, but this one really got to me. It may not be an easy read, but I'd very much recommend it!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Uprooted

Naomi Novik is quickly approaching favorite author status. She writes fantasy as it's MEANT to be written. It flows right off the page and into the reader's imagination that you can't help believe or wish it all to be true. Uprooted tells the story of a young village girl who is sent to live in a sorcerer's tower for a decade. Agnieszka, never thought much beyond her village and her dangerous, yet well loved forest, so when she is chosen as tribute, it comes as a complete shock. What can he see in her?!? Well magic, that's what he sees, unbeknownst to her, there is a vein of magic running through her and with a little nourishment and training she may surpass the sorcerer himself. It's very auspicious timing really, because the wood is angry. It's been lobbying attacks for years, but now the wood is on a mission and the sorcerer can barely keep it at bay. Can Agniescka help keep the wooded monsters in check? Beautifully written, it's like a song. I adored this book and can't wait for more from this author!!!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Collision

I thought this collection of macabre short stories would be very fitting for Halloween so I was very pumped to try this author out. I'll admit I wasn't a fan of every story in the collection and I thought some were much stronger than others. I was however a huge fan of the afterword following each short story, which outlined the author's inspiration for each tale. It made me appreciate the stories a little more, even if I didn't love them all. From amputees to aliens to ghostly dogs and vile, monstrous acts; this collection really is all over the place. The writing is unique, lush, and dark; very fitting for all the stories. These aren't tales with happy endings where everything gets wrapped up neatly with a bow at the end. The final and longest story, was definitely my favorite. It felt the most complete and visceral for me; and I could absolutely see it being a movie or season of American Horror Story. It was very chilling and very well written. J.S. Breukelaar is definitely an author to watch out for!

Sadie

While this one wasn't the strongest of the three books in the Amish Fairy Tale trilogy, it was still an enjoyable read. Sadie is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with an Amish twist. Sadie tries hard to be the perfect daughter and a trustworthy friend. It can be very trying though with her stepmother, whose vanity, desperate attempts to get pregnant, and moodiness are constantly trying Sadie's patience. Everything appears to be looking up though when a charming young man stumbles across Sadie singing in the woods, he starts to drive her home after youth gatherings and Sadie thinks their might be more than a friendship developing. All her hopes are dashed though when her stepmother keeps making her cook and clean for a widow with nine children. Is there something more dastardly afoot? Is she trying to marry Sadie off so she can selfishly have her father all to her self? The ending was a bit much, even for me. But I still enjoyed it. I hope there are more Amish fairy tale retellings coming!!

Clan of the Cave Bear

I enjoyed this book much more than I anticipated. I thought cave men would be a boring read, but hell, I was sucked right in. Jean M. Auel did an insanely impressive job immersing the reader into a highly complex and intricate world in which survival is not guaranteed. Ayla may not have been born into the clan tribe (she clearly looks different, she's lean, tall, and has blond hair), but she begrudgingly gets their acceptance after she is taken in as a child by the clan's medicine women. Ayla learns to communicate with them using movement, not sounds, and learns the clan hierarchy and tools for survival. It's a coming of age story set in the ice age and it is way more engrossing then I ever thought. I'm honestly tempted to continue on with the series! The ending was a bit of a shock!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Finding Her Heart

This inspirational romance begs to the question, what would happen if everything that could go wrong, did go wrong? In Allie's case, she faces one uphill battle after another. Her only constant has been her passion for art. Growing up in a small town she was more sheltered than most. Raised in seclusion by her aunt and uncle, her only friends were forest animals. Due to her Asperger's most of the kids in school made fun of her, and the fact that she had to wear overly modest, homemade clothes, didn't help her much either. When it comes time to graduate she has her heart set on art school. She uses the money she's earned from winning painting competitions to secure her first year and things finally seem to be looking up. Then her uncle dies. Despite all the obstacles being thrown at her Allie finds a way to tough it out, despite her disability and lack of money or resources. Everything would be so much easier if she had God on her side, but she doesn't know where to begin. If only she had a man to show her the way, or a parent figure. Then lo and behold, the comes a man who is set on helping her out. But is just interested in her art, or maybe in her heart? Finding her Heart contains a little bit of romance, faith, and perseverance. It is a quick inspirational read that readers will adore.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Silence of the Girls

Damn, what a read. I've been on a Greek mythology kick recently and this really helped fuel that. Told from the perspective of not a warrior or a god, but a "lowly" women (although she had been a queen), this viewpoint is much needed and most always overlooked. The female perspective of the Trojan War was a refreshing (albeit terrifying) read. Briseis is taken a prize of war and given to the might Achilles as a slave. From royalty to slave is a far fall, but he knows she still has it better than most of the women in the camp, she could be passed around from man to man, raped at will, having to sleep outside with the dogs. She is grateful that she is "higher up" but how grateful can you be, when you have to open your legs for the man who killed your husbands and brothers? A wonderful read and a refreshing new take on the Trojan War.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Sex Criminals: Fourgy

While a little more depressing and not as strong as the first three volumes, I still loved this. It's been a while since I read Sex Criminals, but I immediately got right back into it. It sucks you in! The characters, the great writing, the bizarre plot, and beautiful illustrations are just the tip of the iceberg. It's so witty and raunchy! This volume deals with Suzie and Jon trying to come to terms with their new romance and their brush with the law. Will what they have last? It's more than sex right? I can't wait for the fifth volume!

Fables: Witches

Let's get real, at this point would I give any of these installments less than 5 stars? They just keep getting consistently better and more complex. This volume didn't feature the regular staples but focuses on Bufkin, The Dark Man, and the witches. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Each layer to this series, strengthens it and makes it even more enjoyable to read.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship

A wonderful collection of Indian tales that will delight both old and young readers. Eight tales are woven together by two characters, the prince and his friend, the farmer's son. Together the two of them love to get up to mischief, but love even more to put their thinking caps on and solve riddles. Though they are young, they are wise beyond their age and they delight in holding court and helping solve some of the commoner's tricky dilemmas. It also gives them a chance to occasionally outsmart the adults and prove them wrong. Each of the eight tales comes with an AHA moment when the two young boys are able to get themselves out of a sticky situation. Gorgeously illustrated, this children's book is sure to be a big hit!

The Jell-O Girls

Beautifully written, albeit a bit meandering. This family memoir (memwah) is written by the daughter of a strong and spirited mother and grandmother. Born into the Jell-O money, they may not have wanted for material things, but their emotional and physical lives were never bettered by their family's wealthy legacy. Allie recounts her grandmother's tragic life and how it influenced her mother's and her own unconventional upbringing. Peppered throughout, is the story of Jell-O and it's deep ties with women, motherhood, and domesticity. Not exactly an uplifting read, but still an interesting one. The author then compares her tumultuous life with the girls from LeRoy (also ironically her mother's AND Jell-O's birthplace) who found their limbs inexplicably freezing up in 2012. Parallels are drawn, connecting her family history to Jell-O and the mysteriously frozen young women. It's an interesting and intense read.

Monday, October 1, 2018

The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One

I devoured this collection of poetry. I needed this now more than ever with the Kavanaugh circus running wild. I needed something uplifting and empowering and Amanda Lovelace delivered. If Francesca Lia Block and Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a collection of petry, this would be their lovechild. These poems talk about the struggles, the dangers, and the virtues of being a woman. It's everything the title promised and more. It made me want to go out and seize the day, attend that women's march, shut that man down, and be proud and confident. I loved it. A must read for every woman!!!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Lethal White

I won't lie. This might be my favorite out of the Cormoran Strike series so far. Once I got into it, I was INTO it. There were soo many twists, turns, clues, and red herrings; it takes a genius to map out a plot like this. I also enjoyed where their love lives are heading are heading in Lethal White; at this rate I don't know if Robin and Cormoran will ever get together but after reading this... book five should be promising. So much sexual tension!!!! The plot of this one is intriguing, it starts with a mentally deranged man barging into Strike's office blathering on about witnessing a murder as a child and suddenly it ties in with socialists, ministers, some wealthy snobs, and worst of all, Strike's ex, Charlotte. Tightly wound and filled with unforgettable (albeit, mostly unlikable) characters. I literally cannot wait for the next book. What will they solve next? Hopefully their attraction for each other!

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Pilgrim's Progress

I don't know if this is the worst book that I've ever read or if the audiobook was so atrocious that it made it into the worst thing ever. This book was a nightmare. I get it, I get it, I know it's supposed to be a Christian allegory, but listening to six hours of this (fully fucking dramatized) was hell. HELL. I wanted to bleach my ears. I couldn't handle it anymore, did Satan narrate this? This book made the Lord of the Rings trilogy look like a cake walk!! The Pilgrim's Progress was a long ass journey to heaven made by "Christian" and other people he runs into. They face all sorts of dumb shit and get into dumb trouble and make lots of dumb decisions but SOME FUCKING HOW still make it to heaven (spoiler alert). Christian loses lots of companions, walks into dumb scenarios every other page, but luckily for him, he had some faith so he made it. UGH. I hate everything. I'm glad this nightmare book is over.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Sea Prayer

This books was good but not remotely what I expected. It's soo soo small! I thought it was going to be a legit big adult novel, I mean it's Khaled Hosseini for crying out loud! Instead I got a small picture book. And don't get me wrong, it's still a good story, and the illustrations are gorgeous, BUT... it's a kids book. It could legitimately be shelved with the juvenile literature. All bitching aside, it is the heart-wrenching story of a father reminiscing to his son about how beautiful their country used to be and thinking about all the good memories they had. The father then laments that his son was too little to remember the good times, and all that he'll think of when he thinks of home is death and destruction. He promises his son that they'll get to a bigger better home, away from all the chaos of their war-torn country and then offers up a prayer to the sea to grant them safe passage. This is a chilling story and one that any refugee will relate to.

Born on the Links

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have never picked up a golf club in my life. Ever. I am not what you would call... athletically inclined. Hell, I can barely manage bowling. Despite not playing golf and knowing virtually nothing about it, I enjoyed this book immensely. My boyfriend is an AVID golfer. Not only does he love playing eighteen in the morning, he actually wants to watch golf on TV. Now that is a true fan. I partly wanted to read this book to see what the appeal is, but realistically, I love sports books and I knew if anything could me into golf, it would be reading about it. John Williamson did a great job outlining the early history of the sport in Scotland while detailing how it changed and evolved over the years. The book really takes off however, when golfing is introduced to the United States. America helped streamline golf and slowly began to dominate the sport. It took off like wildfire and soon thousands of golf courses were sprouting up all over the country. Honestly it was all very fascinating how different players, equipment and even policies affected the game. The author didn't shy away from early controversies though involving the clash between amateurs and pros, the limitations facing women, and the racist attitude towards African Americans. The only "golf history" left out that I could tell was information about schools incorporating it and the push to get more youth involved. Other than that, this book did a great job outlining the history of American golf. The author covers the different courses, players, tournaments, and even goes play by play in some crucial matches. There are even nice appendixes at the end outlining all the winners and locations. A must buy for any golf aficionado.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Vox

This was a hard read, it made me sick to my stomach and I had to put it down multiple times. Imagine the backstory to A Handmaid's Tale, and make it worse. That's what Vox was. I think this novel was so upsetting because women's rights are currently being stepped on and reversed and even though we may not thing it's a big deal, those small liberties can have a snowball effect. Vox didn't feel very dystopian to me, it felt like a warning. Vox imagines a world where women's rights are slowly stripped away until it's too late to do anything. The religious nut jobs have taken over the government and overnight the workforce is cut in half. Women only belong in the house as caretakers and nurturers. They aren't allowed to read (except the Bible), write, or do anything without their husbands. Most upsettingly they are limited to 100 words per day. Wrist counters keep track of all the words spoken and keep them in line. Men however, have complete and utter freedom. Dr. Jean McClellan and her daughter must suffer in silence while her husband and three sons can gab and laugh and talk, what would Jean do if she had a chance to upset the balance? Would she take it? Vox is an unforgettable, compelling thrill ride that will make your stomach roll and your heart shudder. It's a nightmare that everyone should read.