Monday, December 24, 2012

The History of the Peloponnesian War

Here's another audiobook review for the Library Journal. It's written according to the journal's standards so it doesn't have my usual quirkiness, but oh well.

Written nearly half a millennium before the birth of Christ, Thucydide’s, The History of the Peloponnesian War continues to be one of the most powerful and influential works of our time. This masterpiece brings to life a convincing account of the struggle between the empires of Athens and Sparta over expansion, shipping, and trade and in the process combines myth, romance, and history to create a painstakingly factual record of the catastrophic conflict that eventually ended the Athenian empire. Neville Jason, renowned voice actor and winner of multiple Audiofile awards and the coveted diction prize beautifully brings to life a long forgotten era and fills the listener with an overwhelming sense of urgency and passion. For lovers of history; past and current. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Seven Deadly Sins: Settling the Argument Between Born Bad and Damaged Good

"The way is never shut if the light you seek is bright enough. If you are feeling a little dark, you can always change the bulb. Never let the limits of your understanding dictate how far you can go. We can be better."

Personally, if you had told me that a high school drop out, former addict, and heavy metal rock star had written that I would have laughed at you, but I guess I like to be proven wrong. This book was nothing what I expected, but FANTASTIC none the less. I had imagined that this book would be a rock and roll biography but I was happily proven wrong when it turned out to be a collection of essays on the "7 deadly sins" and why they aren't really sins and aren't deadly. It was pure unadulterated genius.

Corey Taylor writes like a mix between Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Klosterman, all over the place and full of pop culture references making it impossible to put down. This book reads like part biography, part philosophy, and is all around kick ass. It really challenges you to think about what sin really is and how do we identify or grow past it. Are there new more current deadly sins? You bet! Taylor identifies what he thinks are our societies biggest pitfalls at the end of the book, his choices are actually spot on.

I highly, highly recommend this read, it's full of great quotes and stories, and insights on our society today. I truly hope that Corey Taylor doesn't put the pen down and starts working on another. Bravo.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


What a powerful and provocative book! From the second I picked it up I couldn't put it down. The illustrations in this graphic novel are soo stark and contrasting and fit the theme of the story perfectly.

Persepolis is a graphic novel depicting what it was like to grow up a young girl in Iran during the early eighties. The fact that it's through the eyes of a young child make it that much more powerful. Her innocence is evident as she tries to wrap her head around the violence, the extreme religious movements, the veil, and more.

If you want to learn more about the Middle East or Iran and don't know where to start this book is a great introduction to the subject and will point you in the right direction.

What a seriously innovative and clever concept. Graphic novels keep on getting better and better. I cannot wait to read the sequel (which came out in 2004). If you like historical fiction/ non-fiction graphic novels be sure to also check out Maus which explores the concentration camps during World War II.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Sweet Life in Paris

I'm a traveler at heart and I think that is the main reason I loved this book. Not because I give a hoot about cooking and baking but because I LOVE learning about other cultures. I love reading about how other people go about their daily lives, it's so fascinating.

This book basically reads as a travel guide/cookbook. The author David recounts his first five years living and adjusting to life in one of the greatest cities in the world, Paris. Each chapter is a short story about some aspect of Parisian culture followed by an exquisite recipe or two (the likes of which I will never be able to replicate). You will learn how to properly eat cheese, cut in line, order coffee, go to the doctor, make an absinthe cake and much much more. It is a great book and a must read for anyone planning to travel or live abroad in Paris.

Also, if anyone can figure out the divine sounding recipes make a few and send them my way for sampling :)

Winter Book Challenge - 1st Check in

Here's where I am so far on this challenge. The ones highlighted are the ones I have completed so far. My point score is 60, not too shabby!!

5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before.
     "Code Name Verity" by Elizabeth Wein
5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet.
10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born.
10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. If you were born outside the U.S. and Canada, read a book that takes place in the country you were born.
15: Read a book titled
The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife.
15: Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English.
20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed (e.g. several, few, many, couple).
20: Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday.
20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials.
25: Read a
Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction.
25: Re-read a book.
     "Boston Jane" by Jennifer L. Holm
30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category.
     1. "Enchantments" by Kathryn Harrison (historical fiction)
     2. "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo (young adult fantasy)
     3. "Cloud Atlas" by David Mitchell (fiction)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Code Name Verity

This is easily one of the best young adult historical fiction novels I have EVER read. It was fantastic. All of the recommendations for it were justified and then some.I got glowing reviews from a college professor, Nancy Pearl, and a friend, clearly they know what's up :)

This story weaves an amazing tale of friendship during World War II. Maddie, an ATA pilot and Julie, a special operations spy endure hardships in England as they face sexism, Nazis, bombings, and more. This story is told in first person narrative as Julie (code name verity) is caught behind enemy lines in France and forced to reveal everything she knows. Her confession does more than contain codes and names however, it tells of her beautiful friendship with Maddie. Can she betray her country but not her friend? You MUST read to find out.

Seriously, it's great. You will learn sooo much about World War II history, aircraft, special operations, and Nazis. It's informative, intriguing, and endearing, it's perfect. It might sound daunting because it's listed as "young adult" literature but trust me, it's much more advanced than that. This is a book for all. Including you. So get out there and read it already!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas

I am sooo glad I stuck with this book!!! It starts off super slow but after about 0 pages I really started to get into it. Halfway through I couldn't put the damn thing down. David Mitchell masterfully weaves six tales together even though they take place at different points in time and helps us realize that we are all one drop in the ocean, but each drop can indeed have an impact on future generations whether we realize it or not. We may never live to see what our actions inspire, but everyone, no matter how small, makes a difference in the future. This work is simply stunning, the language, the stprylines, the sheer creativity of combining a 19th century shipmate, a pre-World War II aspiring composer, a perfectly sane gentleman locked in an old folks home, a young journalist covering the scandal of the decade, a fabricant of the future, and a villager from the distant future after the fall of mankind is just stunning. Their tales weave together a story for the ages. I absolutely can't wait to see the movie!

Friday, November 16, 2012


LOVED this book!! It was easily the best historical fiction I've read all year. One of the reasons I loved this book so much was the fact that it took place in St. Petersburg and I just visited there over the summer and knew pretty much all the palaces and sites they described. It was like reliving my trip!

The story follows Rasputin's daughter, Masha, as she copes with the brutal death of her father and the overthrow of the Tsar. She and her sister are exiled along with the Tsar's family and in their confinement she becomes close with the Tsar's son, frail Aloysha. To pass the time as they await their fate, Masha weaves beautiful stories for the bedridden tsaravvitch, about the history of her family, her father's past as a healer and the young love of Nikolay and Alexandra (Aloysha's parents and former rulers of Russia). 

It's beautiful, sad, and exquisitely written and it will inspire you to check out more about this horribly misunderstood chapter of Russian history. Too often we villify Rasputin as a sorcerer (in Hollywood and in history) but this tale humanizes him and his family and brings to life the distressful last days of the Tsar's family (we all know what happens, but we still power through in this novel hoping that magically history will indeed change itself and save their family).

An absolute must read. You won't regret it! I plan on checking out more from this author. She is one hell of a storyteller!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

When Bad Christians Happen to Good People

What an aptly titled book. I myself am a Christian (specifically Catholic... if you really wanted to know) but time and time again I find myself in awe of how hateful and judgmental other "Christians" can be towards other Christians and good people (and heaven help us normal people!). This book does an excellent job of defining fear based theology and describing where some Christians have fallen off the path. Jesus said to love one another not condemn or pass judgement on them. Dave Burchett, a sports broadcaster and prolific blogger, outlines many different steps that Christians can take to see the err in their ways and how by working together and loving all we can reclaim all those who are disillusioned with the church. We need to let go of live as "Jesus followers, not rule enforcers."

This is an interesting read and can easily be read in small chunks. It's a little "preachy" but in the best sense possible. Might make a snarky, yet useful gift to your overbearing Christian friend who thinks you're going to hell for having a gay sibling (or something).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Secrets & Shadows

I've been a little late getting on the comic train and so far my only forays into "the dark side" have been Watchmen, The Fables series, and The Walking Dead comics. So basically I'm a newbie. I was pretty pumped when I found out that my old college pal, Jon Parrish (, had started work on his own comic series.

When the first issue came in I was more than impressed. The artwork on Secrets & Shadows is fantastic. My grandmother, a bat-shit crazy, yet hilarious old art teacher who generally dislikes comics and graphic novels, was even captivated (which is saying something!). So this review comes with not one, but two, stamps of approval in regards to the illustrations.

As for the plot, the comic does an excellent job conveying Joseph Shaw's bitter resentment towards his father, Dark Haven's very own superhero Dark Sun. Haven City is a busy metropolis and Joseph uses the expanse of the city to hide from his haunted past. He works as a dishwasher, although he clearly is more qualified than that. He's turned down multiple job promotions because he's happy hiding at the bottom. Joseph wants to live a normal life and put as much distance between superheroes and himself, but it looks as if that might be hard to accomplish because an ominous new villain enters the scene. What happens you ask? Read the comic! It's very engaging and hard to put down. I'm eagerly awaiting the next issue to see how drastically Joseph's life might be changing. You can't hide from superheroes forever, especially when one is your father! If you're interested in purchasing (and you should be by this point) you can order the first comic in the series online at: So far only the first one has been published but the rest will be out in no time. So go ahead and read it, you won't regret it!

Shadow and Bone

I was quite impressed with this book. Young adult literature has finally moved past vampires and dystopian societies! Woot! It was refreshing to finally read a young adult fantasy novel that was original and insightful. "Shadow and Bone" tells the story of Alina Starkov, a young woman capable of extreme power if only she can harness it. Alina was raised in an orphanage with her best friend, Mal, and since they've been of age they have been in the Kings army. In a world where kingdoms fight each other and cower from the terrifying pit of darkness (the fold) that divides the land there is little hope of leading a normal life. The Grisha (magical elite) try to keep the peace with their powers but the Border Wars have raged on for over one hundred years. During an attack in the fold, Alina saves her best friend from beasts and in the process discovers a power that had been hidden inside her. She is whisked away by the Grisha where she must learn to cultivate her magical abilities and join their ranks. They think she can help end the war but she soon gets a sinking suspicion that they are trying to use her for their own endgame.

It's truly a captivating read and I for one cannot wait for the next in the series to come out. A stunning first novel from, Leigh Bardugo.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Semi-Charmed Winter 2012 Book Challenge

Photo via Ana Luisa Pinto on Flickr; Design by Megan C. Stroup

Welcome to the Semi-Charmed Winter 2012 Book Challenge! I had so much fun hosting the summer challenge that I decided to do it again. It will be a little shorter this time (four months was just too long), and I will also only be hosting monthly check-ins instead of weekly. Thanks to everyone who submitted category ideas for this challenge!

  • The challenge will run from November 1, 2012, to January 31, 2013. (I know this should technically be the Semi-Charmed Winter 2012-2013 Book Challenge, but that is just too long and doesn't make as nice of ahashtag.) No books that are started before 12 a.m. on November 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on January 31 will count.
  • No re-reads (unless specifically stated)! I want you to experience new books with this challenge.
  • Each book must be at least 200 pages long. Audiobooks are fine, as long as the print versions meet the page requirements.
  • A book can only be used for one category. If you want to switch the category later, that's fine, just be sure to account for that in your point total.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will win a featured/guest post on Semi-Charmed Kind of Life. Good luck!

The Challenge:
5 points: Read a book written by an author you have never read before.
5: Read a book you already have at home but haven’t gotten around to yet (from the library, from a bookstore, borrowed from a friend, on your e-reader, whatever).
10: Read a book written in the decade that you were born. Submitted by Summer Book Challenge finisher Hannah.
10: Read a book that takes place in the state/province where you were born. If you were born outside the U.S. and Canada, read a book that takes place in the country you were born.
15: Read a book titled The _______'s Daughter or The _______'s Wife. (There are a ton, I promise!)
15:  Read a book that was originally written in a language other than English.
20: Read a book with a number in the title. This could be an actual digit or a number like “hundred” or “thousand.” No arbitrary numbers are allowed (e.g. several, few, many, couple).
20:  Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday.Submitted by Jessica of Sweet Green Tangerine via Twitter.
20: Read a book written by an author who shares your initials.Submitted by Sarah of The Roaring Twenties via Twitter.
25: Read a Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction.
25:  Re-read a book. (Personally, I’m going to re-read a book from my childhood that I don’t remember well, like Narnia or The Phantom Tollbooth, but you can re-read any book you’d like.)
30: Read three books from three different genres (e.g. romance, historical fiction, horror, biography, etc.). Remember, the books used for this category cannot count for any other category. Submitted bySummer Book Challenge winner Momma Sunshine.

How to keep track: I’ll post a check-in on the first day of every month, on which you can comment with your progress. I will also include the scoreboard from the previous month on each check-in post. The first check-in post will be Saturday, December 1.

Boy Toy

Barry Lyga did it again. Simply marvelous! I've never seen an author capture young adult literature nearly so well as Lyga does (I read "I Hunt Killers" a month back, look for my review, it's equally amazing!). One of my professors told me that I absolutely, positively, HAD to read this book. I am soo glad I did.

This young adult novel follows eighteen year old Josh as he tries to come to terms with his shameful past. As a twelve year old he had a relationship with his middle school teacher, the fall out that followed Josh still has him confused. His teacher Eve was arrested and Josh became a social pariah, thankfully his best friend Zik never left his side. He wants to get close to his old friend Rachel again, but he is too ashamed of his past to try and attempt. Josh is so sure that everyone is silently judging him and he is counting down the days til he can get out of town and go to college. He has Zik, baseball (he's kind of amazing at it), and numbers (literal math whiz) to try and take his mind off matters but he can't stop thinking back to the "affair" he had with Eve. How long can he blame himself?

Trust me you will want to read this novel. The concept sounds grim but it is utterly fantastic to watch Josh learn and grow from his unfortunate past. It  is super compelling and nearly impossible to put down. Truly one of the best young adult books on the market. Read it!!!! I dare you!!


This may not have been the scariest Stephen King book that I've ever read but I still thoroughly enjoyed it! I of course had seen the classic Stanley Kubrick adaptation years back and loved the movie so I was excited to see how the book would measure up. Pretty damn good! King is beyond creepy of course and I got goosebumps every time someone encountered something sinister in the creepy Overlook hotel. I was hoping for a little more terror (like in the movie) but instead I got suspense (which is still a damn good thing). Basically, read this book, it's classic Stephen King and definitely helped get me in the mood for Halloween.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Because of Winn-Dixie

I haven't read this book since it was first released and it was certainly a joy to rediscover it. The story follows ten year old India Opal as she tries to adjust to a new town in Floridia where here dad is a preacher. While grocery shopping she encounters a stray dog and immediately falls in love with him once he smiles at her. She names him Winn-Dixe and he becomes her first friend in the small little town. In no time at all practically the whole town is smitten with the well-behaved and loving mutt. Winn-Dixie gets India acclimated with the people and soon she has become friends with the pet store worker, the old librarian, the friendly "witch," a five year old girl and a few other kids. Winn-Dixie along with her new friends fill the void in India's life that her mother left her, India learns " can't always judge people by the things they done. You got to judge them by what they are doing now." I think that is a great thing for children to learn. India realizes that even though Otis went to jail, he is still a good man. Not dwelling on the past is important, India finally realizes this towards the end when she has to let go of and forgive her mother. She is still lucky enough to have a father that loves her very much.

Overall, it is a great read filled with wonderful messages of love, forgiveness, and friendship. This book won a Newbery Honor and is considered by many to be in the top 100 all time greatest children's books. It has even been turned into a movie (2005).

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gooney Bird Greene

Gooney Bird Greene is an adorable story about the new girl in school who quickly wins over every one. Gooney isn't your average second grader, she is a very eccentric dresser and she has some of the most outlandish tales the children and teacher have ever heard, although she insists they are real ("I tell only absolutely true stories!").

As the class starts to learn about what makes a good story they all volunter Gooney Bird as the character because everyone is so intrigued by her. Gooney Bird, happy to oblige, spends the next week telling one story a day. It quickly becomes everyone's favorite part of the day. She doesn't want to steal the limelight indefinitely though. When she runs out of stories, she convinces her classmates that they all have fun stories to tell and helps them figure out just what those stories are.

Overall, this book is a little goofy and a lot of fun. I can see why small children would get a kick out of reading about a character like Gooney Bird Greene. She's inventive, eccentric, and a fantastic storyteller (with tales like, "How Gooney Bird Came from China on a Flying Carpet" or "Beloved Catman is Consumed by a Cow").

This book would be a lot of fun read aloud and I think children up through fourth and fifth grade would even enjoy this book. The School Library Journal writes, "The cleverly titled stories could spark children's interest in writing their own stories." It's not my favorite book that I've read this semester, but I can see where children would thoroughly enjoy this book (and the pictures!).

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Gone Girl

HOLY. SHIT. This book is freaking mind blowing! Just when you start to think you have the whole story down pat, it switches gears and you have no idea what to expect. It's nearly impossible to describe this story without giving anything away, but trust me, you want to read this!!!!!! Gillian Flynn is a master at messing with your mind (in the best way possible) and this story of a husband and wife is so messed up and tantalizing that it is impossible to put down. Definitely one of the most thrilling and mind blowing books I've read this year :D

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls

I thought it was rather amusing when my book club decided to read a book about a book club. Thankfully my book club meets because they want to, not because they have to. In "The Unbearable Book Club for Unsinkable Girls," four teenagers find themselves thrown into a book club with their mothers, it wouldn't be so bad if they had happened to be friends, but the girls couldn't be more different. Adrienne, is the narrator, she thinks of herself as being plain and boring. Instead of spending the summer with her best friend canoeing through Canada, she is forced to stay home because of a knee injury. Next there is CeeCee, she is gorgeous, wealthy and uppity and unafraid to get what she wants. Jill is a smart, future oriented young girl who works at the snack stand at the pool. Finally there is Wallis, she is shy and meek and no one really knows much about her. Out of all the girls she is the only one that really wants to be there and her mother is the only one that mysteriously never comes to book club.

The girls start off despising each other but within no time at all find themselves living through the craziest summer ever. Their differences help bring them together in this funny and easy to read young adult book. The true definition of a beach read.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keturah and Lord Death

I wish I would have rediscovered young adult literature long before this class (and book club), I feel as if I need to really catch up! Every post I write on this forum I rant and rave about how awesome the book is and unfortunately, I'm going to do it again! I have been very impressed with everything I have read so far in this class, so bear with me while I get real excited about this book as well. 
"Keturah and Lord Death" was a phenomenal read. I will admit that I wasn't immediately intrigued (it took about 2 chapters for me to get really hooked) but once I was I read this bad boy in one sitting. It is a tale of "magic and love, of daring and death, and one to comfort your heart." (Leavitt, 9). Sixteen year old Keturah, lost in the forest, meets Lord Death and instead of being taken by him she captivates him with her charm and one of her stories. She tricks him into letting her live another day and promises that she will return to him the following night to continue her tale. Lord Death keeps threatening that Keteruh will die unless she finds her true love so she spends busy days with her two best friesnds trying to find her true love in the village and trying to outwit Lord Death another night. It is a captivating tale and vaguely reminiscent of "One Thousand and One Nights" where the wife tells tales every night (always unfinished) in order to save her life. Howverer as the story continues it becomes evident that Lord Death is in love with Keturah and wishes to take her as his bride. He bends to her will and even agrees to save her village from the plague. She tries vainly to find love in a villager named Ben, but then in a shocking conclusion realizes that her one true love is Lord Death. Instead of being a sad ending, it is a happy one for all that Keturah set out to do: see her friends wed, save the townsfolk from the plague, etc. she accomplished. 
Unlike many fantasy novels this one isn't too far over the top (magically speaking), the only "magical entity" is Lord Death and the tale is told in the form of a legend by villagers. According to Tunnell et al. this tale could probably fill the fantasy category of, "novelized traditional tale" because death is a character found in many legends, cultures, and traditions. 
Overall, I thought that narration of this tale really draws the reader in even though it is very simplistic, everyone has had experience with death and I believe that this tale helps add a dimension to a powerful and sad thing that comes for us all in the end. The author acknnowledges her young sister who dies of cystic fibrosis at the age of eleven and writes, "I realize what a long journey dying must be like for a child to make alone. I wish I could have walked with her a little way. This book is my way of doing so."
Leavitt, Martine. Keturah and Lord Death. Asheville, N.C.: Front Street, 2006. 
"One Thousand and One Nights ." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.>
Tunnell, Michael O. Children's literature, briefly. 5th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tales From Outer Suburbia

Tales From Outer Suburbia is easily my favorite book that I have read for class this semester. I loved everything about it, from the goofy yet impactful story, to the utterly fantastic drawings. Needless to say, I just placed an order from Amazon to make this book part of my collection.

This fantasy novel is a collection of short stories, poems and drawings about "outer suburbia." It is a place where giant marine animals can show up on your front lawn, missles are part of everyone's yards, stick figures roam the streets, and you can make pets out of garbage. Pretty much anything goes in this imaginative and inventive collection of short tall tales. It doesn't contain all the fantasy story motifs that Tunnel et al mentions but it is definitely chalk full of fantastic objects and magical elements. The illustrations that accompany the stories practically jump off the page and into your imagination, they really stick with you!

As an adult I loved this book, although if I was a small child though I would probably be scared of some of the drawings and stories. One of the lines that stuck out to me was, "... in the olden days... they got the bends because they didn't know about decompressification and how it turns your blood into lemonade." It's a pretty creepy thought, and it gave even me the heebie jeebies. I agree with the School Library Journal review that ranked this novel as fourth grade and up. This book is not intended for the very young.

Overall, I thought that this was a fantastic book. It was given eight major book awards including: Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2007, New York Times Best Illustrated Book of 2007, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2007. A great addition for any collection!
Check out some of these other amazing illustrations...



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Time Warp Trio

Having been a fan of Jon Scieszka and his humorous fairy tale adaptations (The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Odd Tales, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs) I was more than happy to sit down and read one of his beginning reader novels. The Time Warp Trio is a cute little series and Knights of the Kitchen Table is the first in the series. This story follows three young boys as they are magically transported back through time to the age of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. They quickly realize that this little trip is no cake walk. They have to live without baseball, tv, and showers! Plus they quickly discover that in order to prove themselves to the court they have to help defend the kingdom from the Big Black Knight, a giant, and a dragon. Are they up for the task? Will they ever make it home in time for dinner?


This story contains many of the characteristics/motifs that Tunnel et al. mentions are present in traditional fantasy stories. The thee boys find themselves playing the role of hero of the kingdom, there are magical elements (getting sent back in time), and fantastic objects (the book Joe receives for his birthday that sends the three friends back in time).

Overall, I think that kids would really enjoy reading this book. It isn't complex, it is a simple, straightforward read that is made humorous and engaging by the captivating illustrations that are thrown in throughout the book.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blood Kin

I was due for some mindless fantasy and "Blood Kin" definitely fit the bill. The story follows half Fae and night world spy, Holly, as she gets coerced into the most dangerous spying mission she's ever encountered. She has to team up with a cocky, self assured, and righteous Templar, Guy DuCaine and the unlikely duo soon realize that they have more in common then they could ever imagine (hello sex scenes!). Their quest for information takes them through the Blood courts of the vampires, and into the Veiled world of the Fae and the tangled web of lies and information becomes more hopelessly entangled as they try to get to the bottom of their quest.

Overall, it's fast paced enough to get you to keep turning the pages, but yet also manages to be mindless enough that once you're done reading it you pretty much forget all about it or stop caring about it. If there was a beach read fantasy genre this would fit the bill. It's good enough to read once, but not great enough to keep on your shelf and re-read.

I received this book for free from Goodreads Giveaways in return for my honest unbiased opinion.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Par None, the Best Fiction Book on the Conflict in the Middle East

The Watch had me from the very first paragraph, hell, I was in near tears at the end of the first chapter. A simply phenomenal book. Impossible to put down, and even harder to stop thinking about. The Watch  opens with a young Middle Eastern woman traveling far across the mountains to an American military base in order to collect her brother's body after a failed attack on the fort (retaliation for the bombing of her village) and bury it according to Muslim custom. Arriving at the base she is met with hostility because they believe her to be a terrorist or a "black widow" and they refuse to give her her brother's body because they think he is an important figure in the Taliban. However, after a few days the men at the base start to empathize with her plight and it throws them into a deep dark depression. What were they here fighting for really? Weren't they supposed to be helping this country? Why were they having to deny this young injured native woman her brother's body? Each chapter has a different narrator, from the young girl to the lieutenant, doctor, first lieutenant, translator, to captain. The story gains more significance as it is viewed through each character's eyes.

Overall, absolutely stunning. You feel as though you are with them in the blazing hot desert and you feel all their pain and helplessness. It's a truly gripping tale that exemplifies all the important questions about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the lasting consequences it will have on the country's citizens and on the American soldiers when they get back home. Seriously, what an amazing read. 5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Bloody Good Read!

Holy shit. I haven't had a book punch me in the gut like this in a long time. Sweet Jesus this was a great read, and probably has one of the best endings I've read in quite a long time.

"I Hunt Killers" follows Jazz as he tries to come to terms with his haunted past and be a normal teenager. You see, Jazz isn't a normal kid, his dad was a notorious serial killer (124 murders! notorious is an understatement!) and Jazz grew up with a sociopath that taught him how to best severe off limbs, dissolve bodies, manipulate people, and think like a killer. Even though his crazy father, Billy Dent, was caught and imprisoned for life when he was 12, Jazz still can't come to terms. He's 17 and incredibly guilty that he didn't stop his father as a child and he's incredibly scared that he's really a killer at heart because he can't stop thinking about the messed up things his father taught him. Thankfully, he has an amazing best friend, Howie, who stood by him even when the world hated/shunned him because of who his father was. He also has a supportive girlfriend who puts up with his neurotic tendencies and a crazy senile grandma that he takes care of. As if trying to be a normal kid isn't hard enough there is a murder in toen and Jazz immediately recognizes the signs and tells the sheriff that it's a serial killer. The sheriff doesn't believe him so Jazz and Howie do some sleuthing and find some clues that the police miss. They still don't believe Jazz, so he becomes obsessed with finding the killer himself, soon enough there are a string of other murders and Jazz becomes central to the investigation when he figures out the pattern. Finally, Jazz can put his messed up killer mind to use for good, but as he does old memories begin to surface and it nearly tears him apart.

Overall the book is fantastic! It hooks you right from the beginning and you learn more about serial murderers and methods of killing than you ever wanted to know, but it's fascinating in a creepy way. This book is a must read and it's nearly impossible to put down. The ending alone is worth reading for, holy crap you don't see it coming. There better be a sequel!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Band of Sisters

I haven't read a historical fiction book in a while that left a good impression, but Cathy Gohlke's, Band of Sisters, really struck a chord with me ( It really makes you think and begs you to get involved with a problem that is unfortunately still present today.

This heartfelt and wrenching novel follows young Maureen and her thirteen year old sister, Katie Rose, as they flee from Dublin and try to make a new start in New York City. Maureen is trying to escape from a shameful past in Ireland and their only hope is that their deceased father's old military friend will honor a letter he wrote to him nearly twenty years prior ensuring him and his family a home and job in the city. After barely making it past the Ellis Island check points, Maureen is further discouraged when she discovers that Colonel Wakefield is deceased and the family wants nothing to do with her (or so she thinks). Thanks to the aid of young Jamie Flynn (an unworthy chap who loans Maureen money), Joshua Keeton (a young Irish chap who came over with them and is besotten with Maureeen but she unfortunately doesn't want anything to do with him because he knows of her past), and Mrs. Melkford (an elderly missionary lady who looks after the girls and vouches for them at Ellis Island) the two sisters are able to survive, but just barely.

Things start to get gritty really fast when Maureen discovers the "escort service" going on upstairs at her new job in a department store. Soon girls start to go missing, and asking questions becomes dangerous. Maureen fears for her and her sister's life thinking that they might be sold into white slavery. Thankfully, Olivia Wakefield's beau, Curtis, is on the trail to hunt down the men involved with the disappearences and he enlists Maureen and Joshua to help him. Maureen starts to wonder if she might love Joshua as he loves her, but Katie Rose tries to ruin things by bringing up Maureen's shameful past in Ireland which drives a wedge between the sisters. Will Curtis and his helpers get to the bottom of the missing girls, will Katie Rose ever forgive Maureen (and vice-versa), will the Colonel's family ever honor their father's wishes and help out the two Irish sisters? For goodness gracious read to find out. You won't be disappointed.

Overall, this book paints an intricate historical portrait of the dangers young immigrants faced in New York City. It was gripping and inspiring and totally impossible to put down. Being sold into the sex trade and horrible working conditions (for all you history buffs, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire is referenced) were just a few of the horrors that these young immigrants had to face.  Even though these problem aren't running rampant in America, they are still present here and is a huge problem across the globe. This book is a chilling reminder of how we need to unite to combat these social problems for the good of all.

After reading this book you might be compelled to ask what you can do to help stop human trafficking. The following website,, provides valuable resources about human trafficking by country, and what you can do to raise awareness and stop this horrible trend.

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Where Things Come Back

“Where Things Come Back” isn’t one of your stereotypical feel good young adult novels. Author,
John Corey Whaley, grabs you right from the get go and throws you right to the wolves. On the very first page, seventeen year old Cullen Witter sees his first dead bodies, one of them being his cousin. Instead of feeling sadness, Cullen just feels numb, knowing deep inside that this was bound to happen eventually to his no good, junkie, older cousin. And the story doesn’t get any easier from there! Within a few chapters Cullen’s younger brother and role model, Gabriel, goes missing. At first everyone thinks it’s a mistake and he’ll just come waltzing back, but as the weeks drag on, Cullen, his parents, and his best friend, Lucas slowly start to go mad, they simply don’t know how to react. To make things worse, their small town is becoming notorious for the spotting of a once thought extinct woodpecker. People flock to find a glimpse of this bird, and it tears Cullen and his family apart that more people seemingly care about finding this stupid bird then they do his brother.

Throughout the novel Cullen tries nearly everything to escape the hurt and bewilderment about the loss of his brother, he tries to escape in sex, in his brother’s room and music, in Lucas’ crazy kidnapping ideas but nothing works. It’s a gut-wrenching journey that the reader feels in the pit of his/her stomach as we wait eagerly to see how it all turns out. Whaley beautifully illustrates the character’s emotions, so much so, that sometimes we forget that we aren’t a character in this book. It is easy to get lost in this painful journey.

The story is also made more interesting by the occasional side chapters by other minor characters. At first the purpose isn’t clear but as the story goes on they have an interesting way of being the missing puzzle pieces that help put together the larger picture.

Overall, I think that this is a fantastic book for teenagers. It is engaging, addresses a plethora of issues: family problems, the loss of a sibling, teen sex, stereotypes, high school problems, etc. There is something that everyone can easily relate to. Even though the story is told through the eyes of a high school boy, girls would have no problems relating with many of his problems. The story was well written, kept the reader hanging, age appropriate (since basically anything goes with teenagers these days), and had a unique story pattern that kept the plot hurtling forward. I think that this was well deserving of the Printz award. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Widow of Saunders Creek

I love it when I find something that I swear I'm going to hate and it turns out to be a real gem. The Widow of Saunders Creek by Tracey Bateman didn't sound all that appealing to me at first. I hear widow and I start thinking about sappy romances and God's true calling, etc., etc. Thankfully, this story had a lot of depth and added witches, seances, spirits, and demons to the plot.

The story follows Corrie, a widow of six months (her husband died a heroic death in the military) as she moves out into the country to live in the house that was her dead husband's grandparents. After his untimely death he left it to her, stirring resentment in the family because they wished it had been given back into the family, not given to a widow who had no kids and no further ties with the family. Despite some negative vibes she decides to move in hoping it will somehow make her closer to Jarrod's (her husbands) spirit. Little did she know she would be getting just that wish.

Doors slam close, paintings get re-arranged, sounds are heard and Corrie quickly becomes convinced that her husband is indeed in the house with her. It doesn't help that Jarrod's eccentric family all agree with her. Crazy Aunt Trudy (a witch whose talents were given to her by God, hardy har har) convinces her to hold a seance to find out what Jarrod wants. The only one who doesn't believe there is a spirit in the house is handyman, Eli, Jarrod's cousin. He is hired by Corrie to fix the house so they start to see each other on a regular basis. Feelings start to develop between the two but Corrie gets mad when Eli tries telling her it's a demon inside of the house and not Jarrod. Tensions rise, the house gets spookier, and Corrie and Eli are confused how to proceed. Is Corrie ever ready to love again? Can she forsake her husband in death for his cousin?!

If that at all sounded interesting please read. Just a quick note for all my avid readers, this IS a christian romance although it isn't preachy (thank goodness) or too in your face. All in all I thought it combined a few different genres and did a pretty darn good job of conveying a spooky, uplifting, and moving story.

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

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Maria's Trail, The Early Adventures of Chica, Heroine of The Mule Tamer Trilogy

I had the privilege of getting to read an advance manuscript of John C. Horst's upcoming work, Maria's Trail, The Early Adventures of Chica, Heroine of The Mule Tamer Trilogy. John has been really good about letting me read his works as they come out and I try to be good about reviewing them in a timely manner :)

As I've mentioned before westerns aren't really my thing, fortunately The Mule Tamer Trilogy has proved to be the exception to the rule. The characters are diverse and engaging and you can't help but cheering them on every time something dreadful seems to befall them (which is a lot). Throughout the trilogy Chica has remained my favorite character. She's crude and crass, yet she somehow is still the classiest damn woman you've ever met. She's a wild Mexican mix between Annie Oakley and Robin Hood. She's a free spirit and one of the most lovable characters in the trilogy.

This prequel helps us understand Chica's early life and why she is the way she is. Maria (Chica) suffered through a lot of tragedy but it never crippled her, it just made her stronger and more resilient. Maria's Trail gives us a glimpse of many of the stories that are mentioned in the Mule Tamer and fleshes them out. We get the real back story on Sombrero del Oro, the Indian tribe, and Chica's "uncle."

All in all this was a fantastic read and it made me love Chica's character even more. I highly recommend you read it when it is released in September!!!

When You Reach Me

Even  though this book is intended for children, it left me guessing til the very end. I couldn't put the dang book down! This Newbery Award winning book for middle readers follows Miranda, a 12 year old, as she muddles through sixth grade, making friends, and deciphering crazy notes that seemingly predict the future.  The short chapters keep you hooked and it isn't til the end that you realized you've spent an entire afternoon frantically turning pages.

Miranda is quirky young girl who has to deal with the crazy man on the street who sleeps under a mailbox, her mom's boyfriend, Mr. Perfect, and the loss of her best friend, Sal (just to name a few). Despite everything life throws at her Miranda stays strong and discovers something amazing in the process.

A must read! You won't regret it, Rebecca Stead creates a masterpiece for your imagination!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Higher Power of Lucky

What an amazing book for children!! Lucky, the main character, is a down on her luck 10 year old living in the desert in the middle of nowhere. However, she refuses to look at the negatives of her life however and is very grateful for everything that is good, no matter how small.

Lucky's mother died when she was only eight years old and her father (someone she's never even met) brought his ex-wife from France to watch over the daughter he never wanted. His ex-wife, Bridgette, agrees because she always wanted a child and had no job prospects in Paris. Lucky looks up to her "guardian" very much but is always scared that she will leave her to go back to France.

The "town" that Lucky and Bridgette live in only has a population of 43 and is just a bunch of dusty old trailers in the middle of the desert. Everyone is so poor, that once a month, all the adults go to the nearest city to pick up their government surplus. I think this little tid bit was one of the reasons I liked this story so much. Lucky isn't your average kid, she's at the bottom of the food chain and she knows it, it's her reaction however, to the world around her that makes her special. She never thinks about how little she has, she thinks about what she can do with what she has.

Some of her friends consist of, Lincoln, a boy her age who is constantly tying knots, Miles, a 5 year old that goes house to house begging for cookies and for someone to read him "Are You My Mother," and HMS Beagle her trusty mutt that always follows her on adventures. How can you not love the story with characters like this!?

It's a short little story and I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It was well worthy of the Newbery Medal it received.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Books like this make me want to get back into reading young adult novels. This was utterly fantastic. I thoroghly enjoyed learning about Charlie's struggles though his "anonymous" letters. It was a unique format and Charlie bared his soul to a stranger in hopes that an outsider  might understand and refrain from judging him.

While quite humourous at times, this novel also managed to be poignant and heartbreaking as Charlie tries to overcome his emotions and become accepted amongst his peers and within his own family. High school is tough for everyone, but for someone without friends it's even worse. How does one fill the time? Thankfully, Charlie encounters Sam and Patrick. The brother and sister duo take it upon themselves to take Charlie under their wing and help him enjoy his first year of high school. They're not the only ones however. Charlie's english teacher gives him extra readings and assignments, something which Charlie enjoys. The books Bill gives him help him better understand his life and those around him. As the year progresses he starts to become one of the group but he still goes through emotional trials. From trying drugs, to covering the fact that his best friend is gay, and being secretly in love with Sam Charlie learns how important it is to be honest with those around you, but more importantly how to be honest with oneself.

All in all this was a FANTASTIC read and I cannot wait to see the movie staring Emma Watson next month, I really hope it follows the book closely!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Little Amish Diddy

Growing up I had never read an Amish romance, I can now say that I have officially read three. While they aren't my favorite, and they certainly aren't a genre that holds a spot on my bookshelf, every once in a while it's a little bit of a guilty pleasure to read something so far out of my usual reading pattern. Coincidentally, all the Amish "chick lit" I have read is written by the same author, Cindy Woodsmall. Her Latest work, "The Scent of Cherry Blossoms" follows basically the same story line as the last two of hers I read. This book isn't necessarily part of a series, its meant to be a stand alone romance but If you happened to read "The Christmas Singing" you'll notice that it takes place in the same town and some of the characters are the same.

Basically, a young Mennonite girl by the name of Annie goes to stay with her Daadi (grandfather) because she thinks her mother and brothers are straying too far from the faith. While in Apple Ridge with her grandfather, Annie helps out a local Amish family (the Zooks) run their diner while their crippled son, Roman, is away working on a distant relative's generator. Roman's twin, Aden, has always had a huge crush on Annie, and working in the diner together becomes too much for the both of them. Their romance however, is forbidden because Mennonites and Amish are not allowed to mix. If you want to find out how it ends (spoiler alert, ends just like the Christmas Singing did!) read until the very last page. It's a little sappy, a little predictable, and a little over the top but like I said it's a guilty pleasure.

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

James Bond for Moms

I'm not going to lie, it took me a hot second to get into this book. I was like "A former spy that's now a mom has to get back into the game to confront an old supposedly dead enemy?!?!? really?!?" Thankfully the book turned out to be pretty awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

As previously mentioned, Lucy (formally known as Sally Sin) has retired from her long and successful career as a spy and settled down with a husband and toddler, a job she finds nearly as difficult as taking out terrorists in foreign jungles and dodging death at every turn. After a few years of retired bliss however, she is suddenly called back to duty when her former nemesis, Ian Blackford, has "come back from the dead." Ian Blackford was a former spy for the US government that went rogue and no matter how many times Sally Sin tried to capture him, she was always the one who got kidnapped. It almost turned into a cat and mouse type of game between the two although Blackford never really harmed her (he was too intrigued, oh and did I mention he resembles James Bond!??!). Now that Ian Blackford is back into the picture Lucy (Sally) must step her game up to protect her three year old son, Theo, against whatever he has up his sleeve.

This novel was witty and magically made motherhood comparable to being a covert agent (nearly as deadly, especially when it comes to bathtime). The story picks up after the first few chapters and the end leaves you thirsting for more. I definitely can't wait to read the next in the series. Bravo Beth McMullen on a superb first novel, I hope there are many more to come!

I received this book for free from GoodRead's Giveaways in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

"A drug person can learn to cope with things like seeing their dead grandmother crawling up their leg with a knife in her teeth. But no one should be asked to handle this trip."

That quote pretty much sums up this entire book. From the intro until the very last line this books hooks you with such intensity and ferocity that you can't get away. You have to plow through it and hope your mind is still intact when you stumble through to the end. Read with caution! And for the love of God do not be taking drugs or raving drunk when reading this because you may just lose your mind!

"Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" has been on my to read list (and to watch list!) for just about forever so I was more than willing to give it a try this weekend when I went on a roadtrip to Elkhart. The library had an audiobook copy that was only 5 1/2 hours long (perfect!) and was unabridged. I was good to go. The narrator was brilliant and I easily got lost in his voice. The story starts out with Thompson and his attourney getting ready to head to Las Vegas to cover the Mint 400, a motorcycle event. For the trip they make sure to pack enough drugs, booze, and narcotics to kill a herd of elephants. The entire story basically follows them as they lose their minds in the desert and all the crazy shenanigans they get themselves into under the powerful narcotics. It's intense. I've never tried hard drugs and this semi-autobiographical novel cements my decision to never try them.

That being said, Thompson is an amazingly prolific writer and the story flows from one drugged up incident to another with ease. I definitely want to see the movie now, but I think I'll wait on re-reading it. It was pretty damn intense. Great book but definitely not a beach read for the light of heart. Proceed with caution!!! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

An Enlightening Read!

Understanding theology and philosophy of religion is a daunting task. Thankfully this compilation of prolific writers, saints, and theologians is tactfully cut up into bite size portions that the average person can digest and understand. James Stuart Bell takes the most significant passages from Christian writers and thinkers that influenced the masterpieces of C. S. Lewis and puts them all together in this great work. Bell even goes so far as to write a short biography of each individual quoted/referenced in the book and why C. S. Lewis was impacted by their work.

The amount of time that must have gone into compiling this truly magnificent work is staggering, there are hundreds of beautiful inspiring passages artfully grouped into categories so that they can better be understood as a whole. This book is great not only for C. S. Lewis fans who want to see where he gathered his inspiration from, but for people trying to get a deeper grasp on the complexities and beauty of the Christian faith. Unlike other philosophical religious works, this gathers many different thinkers and doesn't try to overwhelm you with the magnitude of their great work. It's an enlightening and inspiring read.

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

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Magical Little Read

I was in just the right kind of mood for this easy breezy fantasy novel. It's a feel good novel that begs to be read outdoors on a nice spring day.

The story follows Hannah, a young healer of sorts, who lives in the Tanglewood forest under the watchful eye of a conniving wizard. She has no idea how she came to be, what her name is, or why she is different from the village folk who come to her for salves, remedies, and healing. Flowers and vines grow in her hair and she uses them to help makes medicines for the nearby village folk and at the end of every month she pulls them all out of her hair and makes a tea for the wizard. As the story progresses she starts to wonder more about her existence and tries to get her friends, some forest animals (yes she can talk to animals as well), to explain to her the ways of the world and why she has to serve the wizard the way she does but they can't remember anything about their past or future existence either. The story takes an interesting turn when a night enters the forest trying to seek treasure at the heart of the Tanglewood, when he is badly injured Hannah (what the young healer has taken to calling herself) restores his health and starts a quest to find out what the true meaning of her life is. 

It's a beautifully written story and you can't help but sympathize with poor Hannah as she tries to find out what her purpose is. It is a cute and easy adventure and I would highly recommend it to anyone :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Epic Conclusion

I just had the pleasure of finishing, The Mule Tamer III: Marta's Quest, the third and final installment in The Mule Tamer Trilogy by John C. Horst and I was not disappointed. In the first two books we are introduced to Arvel Walsh and Chica, a ranger and a feisty but loving Mexican daredevil. They face many battles and trials but through it all discover their love for each other and the wild west and join together to form a family. Enter Rebecca and Marta. Rebecca is Chica and Arvel's only biological child, but they adopted Marta into their family when they rescued her from a gang of bloodthirsty Mexican bandits. Ten years later Marta and Rebecca are inseparable, Rebecca is a thoughtful, loyal, and seemingly quiet girl of nineteen and Marta is quite the opposite. Marta is strong, willed, bawdy, and always looking for a good adventure. They have just finished their schooling in Maryland and are supposed to vacation in Paris for a few months before going to college (did I mention that their grandmother is quite wealthy?) but plans change when Marta wants to check on her estate in Mexico (her Uncle was also quite wealthy). Mexico is going through some troubled times and Marta becomes even more nervous when she discovers that men want to buy her land to strip it for gold and oil. Since the duo is inseparable, Rebecca decides to join Marta on her trip to Mexico and they hope their parents won't realize where they're going.

On the ship from Maryland to Mexico, Rebecca becomes immediately smitten with young engineer, Robert Curtin. They have a whirlwind romance that I at first thought was ridiculously fast (he proposes to her within 48 hours!!) but in comparison to Romeo and Juliet who have a three day relationship (as a 13 year old and a 17 year old!) that results in the death of six people, I realized that Robert and Rebecca's fast road to love wasn't really that far fetched, plus their relationship continues to grow as the story continues. Not to be left behind Marta also starts to swoon for Marine captain, Pedro del Calle but isn't so quick to give her heart (or her virginity away), which is interesting because as a character she is much more of a risk taker and thrill seeker, however when it comes to relationships she is much more reserved. Once they make it to Marta's land they realize that they are in a pretty deep mess. Can their new lovers be trusted or are they just out for their land? I highly recommend reading to see how this adventure ends!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see Arvel's daughter's mature into quick-witted adventurous girls just like their mother, Chica. The Walsh family always runs into excitement and it has been interesting to see how each member of the family reacts to adventure and grows in different parts of the trilogy. I'm sad that this exciting saga is over, but I can't wait to see what else John C. Horst has in store!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Doin' It Dirty Book Bender

  • To be run on July 20th for 12 hours: noon CST to midnight CST
  • You don’t have to read the full 12 hours to participate.  Join us for however much time you have available!
  • You must read erotica or any subgenre of romance that borders on erotica.  Remember!  We’re doing it dirty.
  • Sign up by linking your blog in the linky below
  • On July 19th, we’ll post a linky for a goal post/progress updates.
  • On July 21st, we’ll give you a chance to recap your goals and let everyone know how you did.
  • Use the hashtag #DoinItDirty to track your progress on Twitter
Well I didn't get a chance to do all 12 hours of reading smut but instead I decided to write short mini reviews for all the smut I HAVE read. Here goes....

1. Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter Series
Granted it starts off quite tame. But by the 4th book in the series there is sex oozing everywhere. It's the age old story of a good girl trying to decide between the handsome vampire or the sexy werewolf. Except that there is blood and guts and gore and primal sex involved, plus lots of other paranormal creatures. I re-read the first 5 or 6 books every year. They are that good. Plus Marvel comics has released the first few books as graphic novels, which is insanely awesome. Not super smut, but there is definitely enough sexy-time to get your heart racing.

2. Justine by the Marquis De Sade
This was so raunchy I didn't even finish the whole book. And this was written in the eighteenth century!!!! After watching Quills, a fictional account of the Marquis de Sade's last days, I thought for sure that I could handle this. Boy was I wrong. Sadism is aptly named after this historical author of erotica. Read if you dare.

3. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice
If you're into spankings and perverted Disney tales then this is the book for you. Anne Rice outdoes herself in this erotic work that opens up with sleeping beauty being awakened not with a kiss but by a violent raping. The story doesn't improve from there, it gets more violent and perverted. Not a light reading. There are more in this series, but one was more than enough for me.

4. 50 Shades of Gray Trilogy by E. L. James
Well everyone and their brother has read this recently so get off your butt and go read it to see what the fuss is about. Imagine twilight (because it is twilight fan-fiction) without paranormal creatures and with a lot more sex. The sex scenes are good, but the writing could use improvement. However, no one is reading this for the literary content so I might as well shut up, lol. 

I'm sure I've read way more, but it's late and I'm tired. So that is my minor contribution for now.

Laters baby ;)

Outlander Read-A-Long Week #6. The End!!

Phew, we're done! I finished my first read-a-long and I had a lot of fun!!! Outlander wasn't my favorite book and I'll honestly probably never read it again but I'm glad I read it and I can scratch it off my "to-read" list. Score! Also, I totally cheated and read the whole book in like the first week. My bad! Sorry for cheating!!
1. Jaime has the worst case of seasickness. Do you get seasickness or motion sickness? If not, is there something else that makes your stomach a bit queasy?
I don't get seasickness but I definitely get a bad case of sea legs and I did have to use an airline puke bag one time. But beyond that I'm a champ!
2. How did you handle reading the details of Jamie’s torture at the hands of Randall? Did you blame Jamie for anything that happened during the encounter with the captain? If you were Claire, how do you think you would have taken hearing about the abuse from your husband? What did you think of Claire’s method’s to get Jamie to start healing psychologically from his wounds from Randall (when she filled his room with opium and simulated another attack by the Captain)?
Umm, that was soo fucked up (pardon the language). I was NOT expecting it to be that bad. Like at all. Poor Jamie no wonder he has a mental and physical come apart, that is hell on earth. I can't imagine having to hear about that litany of abuse, especially if it happened to my husband. I wouldn't even know how to handle or process that. I do know that I wouldn't have handled it like Claire did though. Where the hell did she get that idea from? That was just weird and trippy but I guess it worked.
3. This cover: 
“history, warfare, medicine, sex, violence, spirituality, honor, betrayal, vengeance, hope and despair, relationships, the building and destruction of families and societies, time travel, moral ambiguity, swords, herbs, horses, gambling (with cards, dice, and lives), voyages of daring, journeys of both body and soul…you know the usual stuff of literature.”
Which of the above elements of Outlander were you most looking forward to? Which did you enjoy the most while reading? Which did you enjoy the least while reading? Which did you just not care about? Any of these do you which there were more of? Or less of?
I was looking forward to the history aspect more than anything and in that regard I wasn't let down. The tagline makes it sound super epic though and it really isn't. Personally, I didn't care about half of the crap it mentioned but oh well. 
4. Share with us your overall thoughts on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Your favorite quotes, scenes, and/or your favorite words that had you searching for a dictionary. If you haven’t been marking your favorite quotes/passages, you can find Outlander quotes on Goodreads.
Overall, I wasn't in love with this book. It wasn't horrible it just wasn't what I was expecting and it wasn't my cup of tea. I probably won't read the sequels anytime soon but that's ok. I had fun doing this read-a-long so that's all that matters.
5. Are you going to continue with the series or are you done after Outlander? For those of us who are new readers of this series, any predictions? Do you think participating in the read-along helped or hindered your experience with the story? For those of you who’ve already read Outlander and books beyond, how much did you enjoy (or not enjoy) this re-read?
I'm going to pass on reading anymore. Sorry to be a party-pooper! I think participating in this read-a-long really helped me analyze and evaluate the story as I went through it. I definitely want to take part in another one soon!