Thursday, July 2, 2020

Court of Thorns and Roses

Why did it take me so long to read this!? People have been hyping up this fantasy series for years and I've never paid it any mind. I was an idiot, I enjoyed this book so much, I couldn't stop reading it! It's suspenseful, intriguing, romantic, adventurous and more - everything I want in a fantasy. Even though this is a "teen" book I would categorize it more as "new adult" - there are a few steamy moments and since it's a fantasy - the age isn't necessarily as important since the main character isn't in high school. Nineteen year old Feyre is responsible for her two older sisters and her crippled father, once wealthy they have sunk to the very bottom and they are very near starving. Feyre made a  promise to her mother before she died to take care of her family so she hunts and works herself to the bone even though none of them ever seem grateful for it. One day she manages to kill not just a doe but a big wolf as well. She soon finds out it was a faerie she killed and as penance she must go to over the wall and be a captive with them for killing one of their kind. She doesn't expect to be treated to warm baths, new wardrobes and good company when she gets there. What is going on? LOVED it and I will be reading the rest in this series!

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The Last Wish

Honestly I love how much this fleshed out the show for me. I had some questions and this book definitely filled in the gaps! I loved how many of the monsters had backstories from fairy tale lore that we all know and love (Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White). The stories are told mostly through flashbacks as Geralt recovers from wounds he got while fighting a Striga. From meeting Yennefer for the first time, to travelling to the "end of the world," to the law of surprise - Geralt has many an adventure. Nearly all the stories in the book are told during season one of the Netflix series, The Witcher.  Freaking fun and I definitely plan on reading more in this series. I want to know more about the man and his adventures!

Monday, June 29, 2020

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet

If you loved Firefly you will absolutely love this! A rag tag crew of humans and aliens on a patchwork ship must go on a very long haul across space. They are tunnelers and they have just been commissioned on the biggest job of their lives. They are going to create a space tunnel towards a new GC colony. Easy right? Wrong.  They not only have to contend with the risk of space, vigilantes, and space disasters; they have to make sure they can survive each other for that long. For the most part the crew gets along, but there is at least one member who rubs everyone the wrong way. Laugh out loud funny, inventive, and cute this space opera is fantastic. The audio book was especially great! I have to read the next two in the series!

Saturday, June 27, 2020

The Matchmker

These are all so stupidly good. Why has no one ever thought of putting an Amish spin on Jane Austen before?!? This spin off of Emma is wonderfully done and so faithful to the book. I really enjoyed this and I can't wait to get the rest in this series. It's a light fluffy read and is such a uniquely satisfying spin on a classic that is truly closer and more faithful than any other adaptation I've read! The summary is Emma. It's just like Emma. There is still bonnets, matchmaking, picnics, weekly visits, and handsome men. All the essentials!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

First Impressions

I've read a lot of adaptations in my day and I thought this was one of the most unique. The Amish lifestyle is very well suited to Jane Austen's classic novels of love and society; instead of balls there are singings, but both still have horse drawn carriages (or rather buggies), modesty, manners, and grace. Lots of good clean fun. I look forward to reading the rest of the adaptations in this series.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

Raw emotion oozes out of every pore of this poetry collection. This collection of poems covers it all, love, family, coming of age, identity, police brutality and more. It's evocative, painful, brilliant, and powerful. Thakur is a talented spoken word performer and this debut collection of poetry is need now more than ever. Fearmongering, Girl You Better Sing, and Heavy World especially seem needed in these turbulent times. Definitely a voice to pay attention to and I look forward to reading more of her works!

Dead Letters

Ugh - was not a fan. Premise started ok but then quickly veered into the absurd. And it didn't help that this was one of those books that has ZERO likable characters. Not a redeemable one. Ava and Zelda are twins born into an alcoholic, vineyard owning family. Their dad walks out when their teenagers and their home life gets even more tumultuous. Ava is always the reserved responsible one and Zelda is easy-going, carefree and seeks out trouble. After college the two have a falling out and Ava flees to France for grad school. When Ava receives the call that her sister died in a barn fire she doesn't believe if for a second. Zelda is up to her old tricks and Ava is going to play her stupid morbid game. When Ava starts receiving emails from Zelda's email account - sh knows it's only a matter of time before she beats her at her own game. Dark, disturbing, and hard to feel pity for any of these shallow characters.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Stamped

One of the most necessary books I have ever read. Even though this remix of the original version is written for teens, the writing style and the prose make it accessible to everyone. Powerful, searing, and eye opening; I wish everyone could read this book and open their hearts. So many ideas we have about race aren't ours and we've been lied to time and time again without us even knowing. It goes much deeper and farther back than we realize. We need to work hard at becoming antiracist, not just once, but every day. A punch to the gut, but absolutely necessary to wake you up to the history of racism and to the possibility of what the future could be without it.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

One Corpse Too Many

As an avid fan of the Masterpiece Theater series, I was excited to finally read this bad boy. This was always my favorite episode because it introduced my man, Hugh Beringer. There is something soothing wholesome and educational about medieval mysteries and this series is the best of the best. Brother Cadfael used to be a man about the world and served in the crusades, but these days he's much more content in his herb garden. Things in the world are more hectic than ever and the battle between Queen Maude and King Stephen as they fight for the throne is literally outside the gates. When Kind Stephen takes over he kills all the rebels, but when the monks go to give the poor traitors a christian burial they discover one extra body among the hanged. Who killed him and why? Brother Cadfael takes it upon himself to avenge this poor wretch whose death was not ordered by the king. Fabulous storytelling and an amazing setting!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Quantum of Silence

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories they varied in intrigue, missions, and continents. In one or two of the stories Bond is only a minor part of the action - but honestly that made it more interesting. Some of the stories include Octopussy, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, Quantum of Silence, 007 in New York, The Hildebrand Rarity, From a View to a Kill, and others. Many are also movies but their only similarities to the films are the titles, the plots are vastly different. Minus the blatant sexism and racism; the action is always unique and intense, and the stories are compelling and readable. This collection is better than some of the full length novels, I had no idea that these even existed, being published in Playboy, Cosmopolitan, and other publications. A great collection!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Recipe for Persuasion

I didn't love this one as much as Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors but I LOVE that it was set in the same universe with the same characters and the focus on food, family, and friendships. Ashna Raje desperately needs to come up with a way to save her restaurant. She's been the owner and chef at Curried Dreams since her father's suicide when she was 18. These days all she seems to do is stress out and have panic attacks and things are only about to get worse when she finds out her best friend has signed her up for a cooking show. She want's to reject it but she desperately needs the money to save her restaurant. When she finds out who her celebrity partner though she wants to curl up under a rock and die. It's her first boyfriend (the one no one knew about) who has gone on to become an internationally famous soccer player. Why is he back in her life after all this time? How long can they keep up the charade that they don't know each other? Ashna was a tough nut to crack but once the reader is able to peel back all the layers to her anxiety and history; she becomes much more understood and beloved. I also really liked Ashna's mother's story-line. I can't wait for the next one in this series!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Home Before Dark

Absolutely stellar! This horror novel had definite "Haunting of Hill House" vibes. I couldn't put it down. It was compulsively readable, creepy, and super intriguing! When Maggie was 5 she and her parents lived in a huge hulking house that turned out to be haunted. They fled after 20 days never to return. Her father wrote a bestselling book about their experience and that book has changed Maggie's life. She was too young to remember those 20 days so all she knows is what her father wrote about it and she doesn't believe any of it. Her parents refused to ever discuss it with her. When her father dies she discovers that she has inherited the house. She didn't even know her father still had it. What else was he lying to her about. She goes to the house to flip it and try to sell it for a profit, but really she's going for answers. Chapters alternate between Maggie's present day experiences in the house and excerpts from her fathers book. So good and I didn't see the ending coming. I loved it! Riley Sager hits another one out of the ballpark!

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Shutter Island

It's been a good six years or so since I saw the movie so I had pretty much forgotten all about the twist. This psychological suspense novel has pretty good build. It keeps leaving you with more questions. US Marshal Teddy Daniels is sent to Shutter Island to look for a missing woman. The island houses the Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane and all of the inmates are violent and crazy. Teddy and his partner are having a tough time getting answers and everything is getting jumbled. Are they doing illegal treatments on the patients? How could this woman have escaped? What are they hiding? Dark, disturbing, and the twist will leave breathless!

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes

WOW! I didn't know if I would love this but I was hooked in the first chapter. I was drawn back in so quickly it was like I never left Panem! I didn't think I would care for a story that centered on Snow the future president; but really it was fascinating. He's a teenager when the 10th Hunger Games takes place and he's assigned as a mentor to a girl from District 12. Readers get SO MUCH backstory on the games, the war, and the slow and steady rise of the capital. Snow is from a great family but dirt poor - having his champion, Lucy Gray, win the Hunger Games could secure his spot in University - tuition free. Snow always land on top. Things get a lot more complicated when he starts to fall for Lucy Gray, how could they ever make romance work though - she's from the districts?! Filled with so many unforgettable characters; this book will make readers want to re-read the entire trilogy. My true rating 4.5. Excellent, unexpected prequel!

Monday, June 1, 2020

What Momma Left Behind

Worie is going to have to learn to fend for herself quick. She's 17, unmarried, and her mother has just killed herself. Her father is dead, one brother is a drunk and in jail, and the other brother is an evil snake. She's going to have to learn how to take of herself and her small house and plot of land in the Appalachian mountain community. She soon realizes that some may have it worse than her. As typhoid and the influenza spread through the mountains many children are left orphaned and starving. Worie may be the only person capable and willing to take them under her wing. She at least has reliable neighbors who can help out; but when one of her good for nothing brothers comes storming back into the picture things are about to become even more complicated. Fans of inspirational historical fiction will enjoy this unique look into the hard living of mountain people and their unwavering faith amidst unbelievable tragedies.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Greatest Beer Run Ever

Interesting; a story you have to read to believe. This is the insane, hard to believe story of a man who went overseas to bring beer and words of encouragement to the boys from his neighborhood serving in Vietnam. Chickie served four years in the Marines but was dubbed to old to re-up and serve in the Vietnam War. On a whim he agrees to the neighborhoods crazy idea of boosting the soldier's morale. Armed with a case of beer and his seaman's card he signed up on the first ship headed to Vietnam and literally jumped right into the was AS A CIVILIAN to check n on the boys from his neighborhood. It's wild; the scrapes he gets in are impressive (and terrifying). Interesting memoir and perfect for military lovers and vets.

I'm Your Huckleberry

This book was... interesting. I didn't know much about Val other than the movies I'd seen about him but a lot of this book was which celebrity women he's been with, how good he is at everything, his career, all the roles he's turned down, bizarre poetry, and a lot of spiritual beliefs about LOVE and seeing angels and having premonitions. In chapter one he said that he had a crush on all his readers but I can't say I necessarily return that feeling. It was interesting learning some Hollywood stuff BUT... he came across as pretty pompous. So much name dropping and wild claims about how he could do anything. I would rate this as a 2, but I'm bumping it up to a 3 because of the entertainment value and pictures.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors

What an enjoyable and fresh take on Pride and Prejudice!! A lot less campy than the movie "Bride and Prejudice;" this Indian version flips around some of the gender roles (Wickham is a girl who cozies up to Darcy and Trisha tries warning him off) and sets it in modern day San Francisco. Dr. Trisha Raje is an acclaimed neurosurgeon and DJ (Darcy) is an acclaimed chef who has moved to the US to help his sister deal with a tumor affecting her eyesight. Dr. Raje is the one helping Emma with her tumor and that puts her in direct contact with DJ. They immediately get off to a bad start; especially when they realize that they have to work together for a catered event for Dr. Raje's brother. Deliciously cute, a realistic slow burn take on a classic. I can't wait to read more in this series!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The Honey-Don't List

Is this book life changing? No. Is it hilarious? Yes. I read and loved The Unhoneymooners so I knew I was in for a treat when I picked this up. So witty, fun, and breezy this is the perfect beach read. Carey has worked for the Tripps for a decade and all she wants is time to rest. They have a TV show, multiple books and are America's home renovating sweethearts. The facade is starting to crack though and Carey's job is to help Melissa Tripps keep it together. James is Rusty Tripp's "assistant" and he couldn't be more different from Carey. They are like oil and water. When they are both informed last minute that their vacation's are cancelled and they have to go on a week long book tour with the Tripps and keep them from screaming at each other public they find themselves unable to avoid each other. And maybe it's the stress, but there seems to be a bit of a spark. Cute, charming, and hilarious. I loved every page of this!

When Calls the Heart

Very clean and wholesome; When Calls the Heart follows a young proper woman who travels to the Canadian West to teach in a one room schoolhouse near her half brother. Instead of getting to stay with her brother however she is given an outpost over 100 miles away. She has to learn to fend for herself, manage kids who have never had schooling, and try not to get too lonely. She finds herself looking forward to seeing a strapping young man but when she finds out he's the father to one of her students she's a little heartbroken. She relies on her faith and her family to make it through the loneliness and doubt. i really like the setting and it's a quick and light read perfect for all ages.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Dancing at the Pity Party

What a poignant heartfelt book. Unlike anything else out there; the graphic novel is a memoir of loss. One girl trying to come to terms with the loss of her mom, the anger, the platitudes, the awkwardness, the sadness is all brilliantly captured through comic art. Funny, moving, and exceptionally deep and nuanced. Sometimes you need to let it all out and this book perfectly captures what it's like to suffer the loss of a parent. Even if you're lucky enough not to have lost one, reading this can help how you interact with friends and loved ones as they're coping with loss. An absolutely exceptional read!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Diamonds are Forever

Quite different than the movie, and filled with sexist, racist, and homophobic content. However, this was written in the fifties so I won't judge it through today's lens. Plot wise - I thought there would be much more about the diamonds, but really James Bond is seeing how far down the criminal pipeline he can go. They're pretty sure the source of illegal diamonds is from French Guinea (or around there) and they know they end up in America. It's up to Bond to pose as one of the low level carriers and see how far on the criminal trail he can get. His new job takes him to New York, Saratoga, and Vegas. These American mobsters are more methodical and organized than he gave them credit for and it's not as easy as a job as he assumed it would be. Lots of action, intrigue, some sex appeal, and unique villains. Classic James Bond.

Friday, May 22, 2020

CatStronauts: Space Station Situation

Seriously! These books keep getting cuter! The CatStronaut program is under more pressure than ever as their hubba bubba telescope is broke and frequent meteor showers keep interrupting their communications. To make matters worse the president of the  United States is breathing down their necks because it's an election year and he keeps blaming his polling numbers on all the crazy situations they're getting into up in space. Cute and amazing. Give me more!

CatStronauts: Race to Mars

Another witty and adorable installment in the CatStronauts series. This middle grade graphic novel features - you guessed it - cats in space. In their newest adventure other teams of space cats decide they all want to be the first to Mars. The CatStronauts are blindsided and hurry to catch up. They can't let the CosmoCats beat them! Witty, punny, and too cute. Kids and adults will love these adorable illustrations!

Hadley Beckett's Next Dish

A really cute, slow-burn, culinary romance. Hadley Beckett has a top rated cooking show on the Culinary and she is beloved for her southern charm. When she competes on a cooking show with the even more famous (and studly), Maxwell Cavanagh she isn't expecting what happens. He's drunk and flies off the handle at her when she wins over him. It's mortifying. Hadley doesn't expect to every have to work with that pompous chef again, but when the network wants to put them on the most famous documentary show together - they have no choice but to put the knives away and try to be civil. What could possibly happen? Filled with mouthwatering cooking scenes, romantic build-up, and lots of second chances - readers will gobble up this inspirational romance!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

China Dolls

Man - I really enjoyed this book! Three young Chinese Americans meet up in San Francisco during the late thirties and become fast friends. They bond through their love of the spotlight. They love being on the stage and dancing, dazzling the audience with the grace and wit. From Forbidden City Nightclub to other venues; they delight in sequins, lace, and silk. Grace is outgoing but escaping a hard past in Plain City, Ohio. Helen is smothered in her family compound in San Francisco's Chinatown. Ruby left her parents in Hawaii to find stardom in California. The three share many ups and downs, lots of prejudice from White Americans, especially when America enters the war. Can their friendship survive all? Told through alternating perspectives; this is a timeless, complicated, and unique story of friendship. Wonderful!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

If It Bleeds

Another stellar collection from Stephen King! Four short stories, each compelling, dark, but not super creepy. In Mr. Harrigan's Phone, a young boy starts to work for the introverted old billionaire down the street. What happens after his death defies belief - or does it? The Life of Chick is a multi-layered story told in three parts and in reverse. The world is slowly ending - internet and power are going out worldwide, California has fallen into the ocean, Asia is starving, and someone named Chuck is all over the bill boards. Who is Chuck? If It Bleeds is a short story featuring Holly and Jerome from the Bill Hodges trilogy. What if there is a new evil and the only who can stop it is Holly (my personal favorite in this collection)? Finally there is Rat, a story about a man willing to do anything to finish his novel. He goes out to his father's old cabin in the woods determined to get the story out of himself one way or another (very reminiscent of another Stephen King story that was turned into the movie Secret Window). Another stellar collection! I loved it! Give me more!

Friday, May 15, 2020

The Lost Fairy Tales

A cute follow up book in The Pages & Co. series. Not as strong as the first, but we get a lot more mischief and adventure in this one. Tilly and her best friend Oskar are told NOT to explore fairy tales because they don't have the safety of source books. So of course they decide to go bookwandering in one and everything goes wrong. Not wrong in the way that Tilly's grandparents warned, but wrong in that pieces of the story seem missing and characters are acting... well out of character. Could it have anything to do with Mr. Chalk the villain from the first book or is this a new evil? Lot of fun adventures, cute quips, love the comments about librarians. I'm interested to see where the third book goes!

Attucks

This seriously might make my Christmas card list. This book was SO GOOD! I learned so much about Oscar Robertson, Crispus Attucks, race relations in Indianapolis, and Ray Crowe. This was well written and would appeal to both younger and adult readers. I loved the format, I loved the photos and the newspaper articles, and I love the way it was written. I knew that the Klan had deep roots in Indiana but I never realized how directly it impacted Indianapolis' schools and for HOW LONG. Crispus Attucks had to fight for years to even be allowed to play in the state tournament and once they did Black Hoosiers finally had something of their own to succeed in. At first it was a novelty for whites, but then as Atttucks turned into an unstoppable power house - it became something that they too took pride in. Attucks was an Indianapolis team and for years Indianapolis just couldn't compete with the rest of the state. Like Joe Louis and Rosa Parks; Oscar Robertson and the two time undefeated state champion Attucks team became a rallying cry for integration and better race relations. Eye opening, insightful, and empowering; far more than just a basketball book.

The Knockout Queen

A knockout. Literally. This unique coming of age story has many layers and complexities but the enduring friendship of two oddballs is perfectly captured on the page. Michael is a loner. His mom got out of jail and only reclaimed custody of his sister so he's living in his aunt's tiny house. He has no friends and is the loneliest gay kid in the world. Until his six foot three, intimidatingly awkward neighbor, Bunny takes a shine to him. They soon become thick as thieves. He finally has a friend in high school and he can go next door to Bunny's mansion anytime he likes. Things are looking up. Until the fight that is. The fight will transform their friendship and their futures and there is no telling if they'll be able to survive the consequences. Heartfelt, moving, hilarious, and deeply insightful. This coming of age story is one for the books.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Last One to Lie

The twists and turns keep coming in this thriller. Fans of Gone Girl and The Woman in the Window will love this fast paced novel starring an unreliable female narrator that you just can't trust. When Kelsey goes to pick up her three year old from daycare and she's not there - shit hits the fan! Not only that but the daycare has no record of her ever being there and her husband has mysteriously disappeared. Did her abduct her? Why is no one taking her seriously? She starts to get close to Detective Paul Ryan - she'll use sex to get her way and she wants him extra motivated to help her find her daughter; her husband she could care less about. The detective soon realizes that things just aren't adding up. What is this gorgeous wife hiding and why does he keep going back for more? When readers finally get to the "aha moment" nothing is as it seems. Who will you believe when the web of lies is finally revealed? A shocking ending will leave all in awe.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Christmas in Winter Hill

Short and sweet, this inspirational holiday read is a light palate cleanser - good for when you'er getting stressed around the holidays. Single mom Krista and her daughter Emily move from Arizona to Winter Hill Washington and they're in for a treat. Krista isn't one for Christmas cheer but that's about to change when she takes over as city manager and has to help out with Christmastown. Everyone in the small town gets involved and it's a month long festival. This year is even more special as they are giving away a "Christmas house" - a lovingly refurbished historic home to the best essay (see where this is going yet?). Krista and her daughter have made lots of new friends (her assistant's son isn't hard on the eyes) but she's also made some enemies as well. The town's finance manager has a bone to pick with Christmastown and he takes out his frustration on Krista. Was moving to this town a good idea? Will she survive without a car in a small apartment? Is she happier? A quick read with a happy ending all wrapped up in a bow.

We Ride Upon Sticks

Phenomenal! This book is a mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Now and Then. I adored every second of it! A bunch of high school seniors sign their name to the devil's book (i.e. an Emilio Estevez spiral notebook) in return for having the best field hockey season of their lives. They are going to the state championships come hell or high water! It's 1989 and this motley crew of teenage girls (and Boy Cory) is living high on life. Now that they're toying around with "witchcraft" their game and their friendship has never been better. They're really meshing as a team and they have their black book of Emilio to thank for it. Told back and forth between the characters this story of identity, friendship, sexuality, school smarts, witchcraft, and field hockey is hilarious and unforgettable. Descriptions don't do it justice. I adored every character and their idiosyncrasies. From Jen and her claw (bangs aquanetted to high heaven) to Sue Yoon and her kool aid hair to Little Smitty's beloved rabbit - this story is one for the ages. Read it already!

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Hillbilly Elegy

I really enjoyed this smart and talented young man's journey out of poverty and into a future of his own making and I really rooted for him the whole time. He wrote well and persuasively - some times TOO persuasively. The reason I didn't rank this book higher is because it was a little too preachy - which honestly maybe was his intention; but still irked me none the less. I was also saddened that he thought government intervention was largely a waste on kids and families like him in the Appalachian mountains and in the rust belt. His attitude is more that hillbillies, family units, and communities have to start their own change rather than needing outside assistance. Don't get me wrong that has to change too - but I think it needs to be a mixture of the two. In this heartfelt memoir; JD Vance tells about his conventional upbringing and how he was able to overcome the many challenges (poverty, addiction, abuse, rotating dads, etc) because of his Mamaw and the Marines. He pulls himself up by the bootstraps and does what no one in his family has ever done before - go to Yale. It's 100% impressive and inspiring, especially when you read about his childhood. I could have done without the preachiness at the end though.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Stardust

I literally didn't even know this was a movie but after reading it I HAVE to watch the movie now. Where was I and how did I not know this was a thing?! A perfectly charming, unique, and wonderful fantasy about a boy who vows to bring back a fallen star to prove his love to a village girl. To get to the star he must cross over the fairy wall and enter a new realm - one where everything is different and nothing is what it seems. It reminded me of The Princess Bride and The Hobbit. Super cute and adorable; I loved all the characters and the storyline was superb!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

If I Knew Then What I Know Now.. So What?

Well.....  this wasn't bad but this wasn't amazing. It's all humor, no plot, and not much of a memoir (but then again I'm not sure if it was meant to be one). It jumps all over the place and has lots of witticisms, but not a lot of "content." I think the only people who would get a huge kick out of this are Golden Girl fans and short Jewish mothers (her words not mine). She talks about acting, Hollywood, her marriage, being a mother, her friends, and what it's like being short. Nothing earth shattering. A perfectly okay book with a couple of really funny quips.

Nevertell

Wow - this is definitely an unforgettable middle grade adventure set in the wilds of Siberia outside of a Soviet prison camp. Combining Russian folklore, history, adventure, and friendship; this unique story is instantly compelling.  Twelve year old Lina was born in a Soviet prison camp. Her mother, her uncle, and her grandfather had been sent to live in the camp when her grandfather told "fairy tales" (forbidden) and criticized the great leader. Leaving in the camp is the only thing Lina has ever known. For years she was the only child until a boy her age was sent to the camp. Together along with some  prison old timers they devise a plan to escape and try to get to Lina's grandmother who lives in Moscow. Almost immediately everything goes wrong. Ghost wolves, giant falcons, and shadow people are suddenly very real and more frightening then the prison guards ever were. Will Lina and Bogdan survive?  Can she do some magic of her own? Lovely, magical, and compelling. Great for readers of all ages!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Legends of Lust

Hubba hubba! This is my second read by Autumn Bardot (I read Confessions of a Sheba Queen a few months ago) and I was NOT disappointed! I'm a relative newbie when it comes to erotica but I have always adored short stories and myths so this collection was gold for me! Bardot spins lusty tales out of many classic myths that readers know and love as well as introducing many tales that were new to me. From Africa to Japan to India to Egpyt to Ireland to America and more; there is something for everyone! Every tale is steamy, seductive, and deliciously naughty. In one story a faerie demands a toll from virgins passing through his woods; but what happens when he falls for one of the maidens? In another an Amazon goddess falls for a mortal man who knows how to do magical things to her body. In yet another one, the Native American trickster god, Kokopelli, seduces and impregnates young willing women while showing them a thing or two about pleasure. Each story is better than the next. A marvelous collection!

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Hot to the Touch

Talk about steamy!! This collection of erotic stories centers on polyamory and the ensuing fun that can be had. All stories are exceptionally well written and some include quite a bit of build up and insightful view into the lifestyle. As a person in a monogamous relationship, it was pretty eye opening! From married couples to poly families this collection of erotica sizzles right off the page! From a widow looking for her lost dog to a woman on a work trip to speed dating to naughty adventures in a limo (and a train!); this collection has quite an assortment of good ol' naughty fun. Each story is unique, sexy, and unforgettable. A great collection of erotica and not just for those into the polyamory lifestyle!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Kingdom of the Silver Cat

If Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia had a love child, Kingdom of the Silver Cat would be it! This delightful middle grade fantasy follows a group of children who are mysteriously transported to another world while on their way to school. After the school bus crash lands into a crazy field and their bus driver doesn't return after going to look for help; the fifteen kids on the bus (ranging from ages 8 to 13) realize that they are on their own. They are in a magical place unlike anything they've ever seen; fireballs, ferocious mists, faeries, and other fantastical creatures greet them at every turn. And what's more, the kids discover that they have all inherited some crazy abilities; no two are alike! From fire to super speed to creating music to becoming invisible; the kids are learning more about themselves and their new powers every day. Kingdom of the Silver Cat is an epic coming of age adventure that highlights; friendship, trust, confidence, and the power of belief. While intended for kids; this story appeals to all ages in it's timelessness and readers will be begging for the next book in the series after the climactic ending! Also included are: maps, a glossary of faerie words, and drawing of each of the kids that really help put faces to each of the kids. A wonderful new fantasy adventure with lots of twists, turns, an unforgettable cast of characters and new marvels on every page!

The Rider from Lost Creek

I can finally say that I've read a Louis L'Amour book! This wasn't a bad western, but I haven't read too much in the genre to compare it to. This standalone follows Lance Kilkenny as he comes into town to hep a friend out. He's known as the fastest gunmen in the west, but most don't even know what he looks like because he never stays in any place long. He discovers that his friend Mort Davis needs help securing a waterhole from two wealthy cattleman who are claiming it as their own. As the bodies start piling up, it appears that a full on range war is about to engulf the whole territory, if only Kilkenny could keep his mind on work and his thoughts off the local saloon owner.Fast paced and quick, there is a small mystery that gives resolved in the end and lots of gunfights and stolen kisses from pretty women. Forgettable but fun.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

An American Weeia in Paris

Elle Boca opens up the latest Weeia Marshals book with a bang and the action never stops! Danni, the acting head of the Paris Weeia office is inside the Eiffel Tower guarding some high ranking American Weeias when suddenly the structure is held hostage by brute men with guns and bombs. They are able to take out some of the enemy, but the real mystery is; who took out the other men? Some lightening fast superhero has been running around Paris and stopping crimes. While that is excellent for Parisians, it's worrying for Danni because it appears there is a Weeia flaunting their powers, just asking to get caught by human authorities. It's going to take all her skills (and a little help from her friends) to track down this vigilante. And as if she didn't have enough on her plate, she has another smaller case to attend to and a huge surprise that will rock her to her very core. Action packed, this mystery has a beautiful backdrop of Paris that only enhances the story. Descriptions of mouthwatering food, her new poodle, and the sights around Paris really make the reader feel at home in this world. Fantastic as always, I can't wait for the next installment!

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Whammy

Part small town Texas drama part super hero drama; Whammy weaves together two stories to create a humorous, adventure mystery. Klive Anderson is a man of simple pleasures. He likes coffee, good sleep, his easy steady employment working in a Texas oilfield, and writing superhero stories in his journal. His roommate on the other hand is a the complete opposite. Stacey Karlisle owns the town's only coffee shop, but really it's just a front for her dope business. Differences aside they get on real good and can easily waste an evening watching Clint Eastwood movies together. Living in small town there isn't much drama to speak of but when one of Klive's coworkers is killed in a work accident, things begin to go off kilter for for him. He's unsettled and takes to writing more about villains and superheroes in his journal. When Stacey picks up his notebook one day she gets drawn into his story. Little does she know just how drawn in she's about to be. Off the wall, laugh out loud funny, and unique; Whammy is a zany western/comic adventure fantasy that readers won't soon forget about.

A Discovery of Witches

This book started out SUPER slow, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. But I did and I got super invested in the characters. There was a bit of a twilight/50 Shades of Gray vibe as the main vampire is VERY protective and controlling of his love interest, the hapless witch, who needs to be rescued time and again. They weren't my favorite characters and I found myself really identifying with the side characters (of which there were plenty). The quick and dirty summary of this book is that a historian (who is also a witch - who denies her powers and lives as a human) who studies old alchemy manuscripts finds a weird bewitched text in an Oxford library and suddenly witches, daemons, and vampires are following her every move. They want the manuscript and they can't believe a lesser witch such as her somehow found this seemingly lost text and managed to open it. Her life is in danger as all the magical creatures converge on her. One creature (who may or may not have ulterior motives) seems to actually care about her. A scientist (whose also a sexy centuries old vampire) takes her under his wing and protects her until they figure out what the big deal about this manuscript is.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Fighting for Space

Shira Teitel, Amy. Fighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight.  9CDs. unabridged. 11hrs. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781549121005. $35.00.

Spaceflight historian Amy Shira Teitel tells the empowering true story of two female pilots who fought to be the first women in space. This dual biography captures the brilliant lives of Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb as they trailblazed their way into the cockpit and into the hearts of millions of Americans. Both became pilots at a time in America when women should be barefoot and pregnant - certainly not setting flying records or breaking the space barrier. They fought against sexism and proved to men time and again they they belonged in the air. The dawn of the space age brought new dreams and both women longed to get into space. Jerrie Cobb took all the same tests as America's first astronauts and refused to let the matter lie. She had already proved she could be a pilot, she could prove that she was astronaut material as well. Passionately narrated by the author; who gives both young women vim and vigor; causing them to leap from the page right into the listener's imagination. This inspiring story highlights two women that challenged the social norms and used their grit and determination to prove themselves the equal of any man in the air or the the atmosphere. An impressive and awe inducing biography that space junkies, feminists, and historians will eat up! - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Saturday, April 11, 2020

1776

I honesty don't think I was n the right mindset to take on this historical nonfiction narrative. It took me longer to finish then I would have liked. I didn't actually read what this was about and I just assumed it was all about the Revolutionary War. Which in essence it is, but like the title suggests (stupid me), this book is about the year 1776 only and about all the trials, tribulations, and setbacks that the Continental army dealt with in the first year of the war. By all accounts, the rag tag, undisciplined, untrained, and under-equipped army should have lost from the onset, but with a vivacious leader like General George Washington and the grit of some, they were able to get the American public on their side (slowly) after suffering many retreats and defeats in the beginning. Told in a narrative way, this story is engaging; but very overwhelming with names, places, and other "mundane" aspects of war. I learned a lot of neat tid-bits that never came up in class; but overall this is an exhaustive read and one I was not much in the mood for even though it was well-researched and written.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Valentine

Wow. That's a gut punch. Raw, gritty, and profound. It made me feel l just read some Appalachian noir. Set in West Texas during the late seventies; a fourteen year old Hispanic teenager is brutally and horrifically raped and assaulted and it tears the small town of Odessa apart. For many of the Bible thumping, good ol' boy residents, that young boy (who works in the oil fields) is innocent until proven guilty. Besides she was asking for it! For Mary Rose the woman who found poor Gloria, bloodied and barefoot after crawling across the desert to escape the man who brutalized her, it's insane that anyone could place blame on the girl. She's only fourteen, she's a child! Told in alternating perspectives from different women in the town; this story will captivate, enrage, and haunt readers. Wonderful storytelling!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Beach Read

I am head over heels for this book! This fluffy chick-lit book is exactly what I needed in my life. I laughed, I got emotional, I was totally invested. A romance author and a serious "literary" author find themselves in neighboring lake houses. They have a past. They can't stand each other. Or can they? They challenge each other to write a book that reads like something the other person would write. Witty and wonderful. I don't even want to give a detailed summary. Just read it. You'll be falling in love with the characters, their story, and their growing attraction. This is one I will recommend to everyone!

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Guest List

I love good ol fashioned murder mystery and like a lot of reviews have said - it's reminiscent of Agatha Christie. One of the cool things is that it opens up with a dead body at a wedding.... but you don't know who it is! It's told through flashbacks leading up to the murder so it keeps you guessing as to who the murderer and the victim. The setting is a bleak little island off the coast of Ireland, it's a really posh wedding and of course their is loads of drama leading up to the ceremony and during the reception. The story is told through several perspectives. The best man, a plus one, the wedding organizer, the bride, the maid of honor, and the groom. The story moves quickly and you're on the edge of your seat as you try to put all the pieces together. I didn't even come close to getting the ending right, which made me love it more! A fantastic murder mystery!!

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Tell the Wolves I'm Home

My heart!!!! From beginning to end I loved this book. Every flawed character was perfection and I never wanted this story to end. Fourteen year old June's best friend in the world is her Uncle Finn. When he dies of AIDS she is heartbroken and no one, not even her sister or her mother, understand what she's going through. They all just want to move on. When Finn's "special friend" reaches out June reluctantly agrees to meet him. Soon they realize how much they both loved the same bond and they slowly start to trust each other. A dazzling coming of age tale told through art, sibling rivalry, medieval music, and more. Truly wonderful and a story I will definitely visit again!