Monday, October 28, 2013

Glitter and Glue

A funny and heart-wrenching memoir about the bond between mothers and daughters, and how sometimes it can take a lifetime to understand. Kelly's childhood and relationship with her mother isn't typical, but then again, whose is?

When Kelly decides to travel the world for a year, she finds herself in Australia for 5 months and with a limited cash fund. Desperate she takes a job nannying for a widower and his two young children. As she helps rear the children she begins to learn things about her own mother in the absence of the childrens.

This memoir will have you laughing out loud and tearing up chapters later. What a great read.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Between Shades of Gray

I loved this!! It was haunting and beautiful read that sheds light on a disturbingly overlooked part of history, the murder of millions of citizens in the Baltic states in 1941. When people think of World War II they tend to think of the Holocaust and Pearl Harbor but many overlook the millions of people that Stalin had killed. It's chilling depictions of the horrors of the labor camps, starvation, murder, and packing people in cattle cars will stay with the reader. This isn't just a story of despair however, Lina and her family hold onto hope, no matter how hopeless their lives have become.

An absolute must read. The short chapters make this book a fast and an inspiring read.


After years of having Joe Hill on my to read list, I can finally check him off! I can't lie though, the main reason for finally reading this novel is not all the glowing recommendations my friends have given Joe Hill, but rather the upcoming movie version of this, starring my main man Harry Potter, I mean Daniel Radcliffe.

Horns is a unique horror/paranormal/thriller that nearly anyone could get into. The story centers on Ig, a young man who wakes up one morning after a hard night of drinking with a set of horns on his head. He has no idea how they got there and soon discovers that the horns do more than make him look terrifying, they allow him to hear people's innermost horrible desires. He sees the worst of people, his family, his friends. And it tears him apart... until he discovers he can use this "gift" to try and discover who murdered his girlfriend a year ago.

Inventive and exciting, this is a great read from Joe Hill. Obviously great writing runs in his family (his father is Stephen King).

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Navigating Early

This book was fantastic and I have a hard time believing it's meant for junior readers. Thematically, it's compelling and complex and interweaves stories within stories. 

Jack is uprooted from Kansas to a boarding school in Maine when his mother dies. While there he befriends another eighth grader the bewilderingly weird, Early, who convinces Jack that they need to go on a quest in the wilderness to find the great Appalachian Grizzly Bear and find Early's lost (ie dead in the war) brother. Jack and Early embark on an amazing quest that neither of them could have ever anticipated. Set during the end of World War II this book will move you. A truly fantastic journey of two young boys facing inner demons and harsh realities of a cruel world. An uplifting and inspiring read.

The Dangerous Animal's Club

I have never laughed out loud soo much, listening to an audiobook. Stephen Tobolowsky does an amazing job narrating his stories and you can't help but grinning at his off the wall and nearly unbelievable stories. There are roughly two dozen stories that illustrate Stephen's childhood, college years, acting gigs, professional life, and parenthood.

Such a great read. I looked forward getting into the car so I could listen to Stephen joke about driving naked down the interstate to escape fleas, capturing scorpions in jelly jars, and debating about whether to pay the big man to pee on his back.

A great collection and one that makes me appreciate Mr. Tobolowsky even more as an actor. What fun stories :)


This was a unique read, nothing like I thought it would be. I had seen the movie (the original with Sissy) and I assumed it would be, well, like the movie. And to an extent it was, but really not at all.

The book does an impeccable job of getting inside the character's heads and telling the story via newspaper clippings, personal accounts, science books, police reports, and more. It is not a cut and dried story with three parts (beginning, middle, and end) it only centers around one main event, Carrie White's prom. And the whole time you basically know what is going to happen, but the suspense keeps building and you keep willing the outcome to change.

Fantastic, creepy, read that really gets in your head. A great introduction to horror or Stephen King books for the non-reader.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Let the Great World Spin

It took me a long time to get into this book. A LONG time. I twas beautifully written and crafted but I didn't start caring until the last 100 pages of the book.

The story is centered around the tightrope artist that illegally walked between the Twin Towers in New York in 1974. Various character's stories weave around viewing that amazing sight. Thee hookers, the Irish brothers, the southern Black women who lost all three of her sons in the Vietnam War, the computer programmers in California, etc. All of these people have somehow been impacted even if only minimally by this brave and terrifying feat of daring.

Some of the stories lag, while others grip your heart. Well put together, but definitely not a page turner.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Husband's Secret

Man I powered through this book, it took me no time at all to finish it! It wasn't a super challenging read, but at the same time it wasn't a mindless chick romance either, this had substance.

The story all centers around a letter. A letter that has remained hidden, forgotten, and unopened for over a decade. When Cecilia stumbles upon the letter in the attic addressed to her in the event of her husband's death, she is intrigued, but she decides not to open it... at least for now.

The letter will change lives, isn't that what the truth does? If it's opened it has the power to draw many seemingly different people together. The truth changes everything.

If you're looking for a quick, exciting, page turner then this is the book for you. With plenty of plot twists and a fast paced storyline this novel will have you turning pages at breakneck speed. Very innovative and fresh. A very enjoyable read.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Two Boys Kissing

If you pick any of my reviews to read, please read this one. This is by far one of the most meaningful and inspiring books I've read in years.

Ordinarily I would never have picked up this book, I would have shied away from the title. Thank goodness I'm in book clubs that make me read outside my genre/comfort zone. This book defied all odds and is an amazing read for any gay, straight, questioning, lesbian, trangendered, bisexual teenager or adult (although I can easily see it becoming a manifesto/classic for the LGBT community like the "It Gets Better" book, it's simply too good not to).

This "story" is narrated by a lost generation, the generation of gay men and women that watched as nearly two hundred thousand of their friends, family members, and partners died of AIDS and suffered through waves of homophobia like this generation has never known. This voice helps weaves several tales of young gay teens together and tries to reassure this generation that things will get better. The main story is of Harry and Craig, two gay teens that try to break the record for longest kiss (32 hours). What starts out as a small personal record for the two of them turns into an international sensation as people chime in their support (and condemnation) from all over the world. The other threads of the story involve a gay son who feels he has nothing to live for, a girl in a boys body trying to find true love, a young gay boy starting to realize that revenge for the daily slurs and harassment isn't the way to go, and a young gay couple that realize how good they have it.

This story addresses so many important and pressing issues. Coming to terms with your identity. Coming out to your family. Believing in the future. Forgiveness. Hope. It's truly inspiring. The use of the omniscient narrators is also breathtaking.

Also, the words of this story have such a lyrical quality. Here are some quotable ones for you:

"What a powerful word, "future." Of all the abstractions we can articulate to ourselves, of all the concepts we have that other animals do not, how extraordinary the ability to consider a time that's never been experienced. And how tragic not to consider it. It galls us, we with such a limited future, to see someone brush it aside as meaningless, when it has an endless capacity for meaning, and an endless number of meaning that can be found within it."

"You can give words, but you can't take them, And when words are given and received, that is when they are shared."

"Ignorance is not bliss. Bliss is knowing the full meaning of what you have been given."

"We often believe the truest measure of a relationship is the ability to lay ourselves bare. But there's something to be said for parading your plumage as well, finding truth as much in the silly as the severe."

Seriously, read this book. I read it from start to finish in one day. Granted I was home sick, but the point. This is a fantastic book that makes me have a little more faith in society. Another job well done David Levithan. This book has already been nominated for a National Book Award (and it was just published last month!) and I can see it getting nominated for many many more awards (also, getting banned because of the title - stupid bigots).

In the Woods

This is one of those books. One of the ones you can't put down and you want to turn pages faster so that you can get to the end and figure out what in the hell is going on. Except when you get to the end your brain explodes. Fair warning.

Basically, a young girl is found dead on an ancient stone tablet. Detectives Rob and Cassie have to figure out if it was a pagan sacrifice, if she was raped and murdered by her father, OR if she is part of an older case, a case that goes back to when Rob was a child himself and his two best friends went missing.... IN THE VERY SAME WOODS! Oh it keeps you guessing all right.

Overall, a fantastic read, one that keeps you guessing and go well beyond the realms of mystery and into eerie thriller. Rob and Cassie are also excellent characters, I loved them. I don't want to part with them, I need more of them in my life now! They are such a witty charismatic dynamic duo.

Also, I really enjoyed it because it's set in Dublin and a lot of the places that Rob and Cassie go to, I'd been (UCD, Howth, Bray, etc.), PLUS there was a fair bit or archaeology stuff in here. Intriguing :)

Must read for sure!