Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sacred Sex

A small guide aimed at describing what it means to be a 21st century, sexually pure, Christian. Author Tony Evans, breaks this small work into three sections: Sex as God intended it, the value of sexual purity, and keeping sex sacred. In short, keep it in your pants and out of your mind. Ignore Hollywood and the loose immoral ideas of our society. Stay pure or you will suffer scarring emotional damage that can be forgiven, but never fixed (that especially means you women, with all your crazy emotional baggage!). This tiny guide (under 80 pages) is intended for single men and women as well married couples.  As for parents, just give this book to your kids when they turn 12 and you'll never have to give "the talk." It's a win, win for everyone! That is unless you're not a virgin... then you're in big, big trouble (God is watching you, even when you masturbate. Might want to rethink that vibrator, and don't say I didn't try to warn you, this is only your soul we're talking about).

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

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Lost Sisterhood - Library Journal Audiobook Review

Fortier, Anne. The Lost Sisterhood. 19 CDs. unabridged. 25 hrs. Books on Tape. 2014. ISBN 97800385359955.

Following on the heels of her first novel, Juliet, Anne Fortier once again proves that she is the new Dan Brown for women. Her smart, educated fearless female leads prove that adventures and historical intrigue aren't just for men. In The Lost Sisterhood, Oxford lecturer and Amazon scholar, Diana Morgan, receives an offer she can't refuse. A mysterious "foundation" requests her services as a philologist to try and decipher a new language found on a recently unearthed temple's walls, a language believed to be of Amazonian origin. Desperate to prove to her colleagues that Amazons are more than mere legend, Diana travels halfway around the world only to find herself caught in the cross hairs of people that will do anything to stop her from picking up the Amazon trail and finding the fabled Amazon treasure. The fast paced story also alternates from Diana to Myrina, first Queen of the Amazons. While separated by thousands of years their stories are shockingly similar as they fight to secure the legacy of the Amazons and stay alive. Narrated beautifully by the talented voice actress, Cassandra Campbell, who breathes life into each of the characters by creating unique voices and patterns. Listeners will have a heard time turning the audio off. For fans of historical mysteries, thrillers, and Dan Brown novels. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN

The Walking Dead. Book Two

Man, you gotta love comics, especially ones that feature the Walking Dead. If you're a fan of the show, you'll love the comics. If you're a fan of the comics, chances are you'll love the show. It's amazing that AMC was able to turn such a stunning set of comics into an amazing tv series that follows along the original story line (pretty well) and even amplifies the human suffering and the emotional toll it takes on the survivors. It's gritty, gory, and addicting. What are you waiting for?!

A must read for fans of Zombies, comics, or the tv show.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Orchard of Hope

A quest to save the kingdom isn't as easy as Kelsey had imagined. She is accompanied by Death (a sarcastic red fox) and Maggie (a stuck up orphan). Together they must use their skills to stop the evil wolves from eating all the hope in the orchard. Back at the castle their fellow friend, Nicholas, must learn to become a sorcerer so he can help his buddies from a distance.

While amusing, this book is most certainly intended for younger audiences only. There isn't much character development and the story solely centers on the quest and the weird quirks of the characters (a perpetually hungry gargoyle, a weird wizard who doesn't dress properly, etc.).  Also, it's worth noting that this is second in a series, although it serves alright as a stand alone. I didn't feel like I missed out on anything.

Overall, all it was meh. 4th through 7th graders may enjoy.

I received this book free through Librarything Giveaways in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Debbie Doesn't Do it Anymore

Clearly I need to read about porn stars more often because this book was hella awesome! I've also always wanted to read Walter Mosley so I'm glad I finally got around to it, this was a great introduction to his work. When I saw how friggin amazing the cover art was on this book I knew I had to read it. HAD TO. Seriously, just take a moment to appreciate the cover art, it's stunning. It makes you want to pick up the book. You can't stop looking! And once you find out it's about a porn star you absolutely have the desire to read it!

Debbie Dare is a legend in the porn biz. With dark black skin, long blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and white beauty mark tattoo on her face she is quite unforgettable. Deb comes home after a hard day of screwing in front of the camera only to find that her husband is dead. He was electrocuted when a video camera fell in the hot tub while attempting to film a home sex tape with a sixteen year old girl. Debbie, is upset but numb, she doesn't know how to handle it. She decides to quit the porn industry and go by her real name, Saundra Peel. She wants to move on with her life but doesn't know how to, especially since her husband spent every penny they had and she now has loan sharks chasing her all over town.

That's all you need to know. Just read it. It's graphic, gritty, smart, and intriguing. The ending was a little more abrupt then I would have liked but I still thoroughly enjoyed the book!

Friday, May 23, 2014

That Old Cape Magic

I picked up this book after one of the ladies in my book club said (and I quote), "It was the best book I ever read." Wow, I thought, with a glowing recommendation like that, it's got to be good! Not exactly.

Too be fair, Richard Russo has written a lot of other books (none of which I've read) and won a Pulitzer prize, so I know he's a good author. And this book was well written. But.... I still didn't like it. At all. I couldn't relate with the characters, I didn't care about their struggles, I felt nothing.In fact, I kept forgetting that the main character was in his fifties (maybe sixties...), he felt too young to me. But I digress. It was written well, developed well, told well, it just didn't click with me. I really did want to like it. And there were moments when I laughed out loud (the wedding rehearsal dinner at the end is quite hilarious).

To dumb down the plot, it's basically about a husband going through a late midlife crisis who can't decide what he wants out of life. Does he prove his miserable parents right or wrong? Does he leave Joy and go back out to LA to screen-write or stay with her in Maine and keep his teaching position? Whose opinion is more important: his, his wife's, or his parents?

For fans of literature or Richard Russo.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Me Before You

A very thought provoking and touching story. A little too much so since someone (cough cough Andrea!) didn't warn me that I would need a box of tissues nearby!

When twenty six year old Louisa Clark loses her job at the cafe she finds herself at the crossroads. She has no real job skills, no ambitions, or career aspirations, but she must find a job asap to help support her family. After briefly working in a chicken factory, fast food, and telemarketing, she finds herself in a giant manor as a caregiver to a thirty-five year old quadriplegic. She isn't in charge of wiping his bum (to her relief) but rather to keep an eye on him and try to keep him happy. Her ward, Will, hadn't always been a quadriplegic, he had been an active traveler and adventurer until he was tragically hit by a bike. He can't bear a life confined to a wheelchair so he lashes out on anyone that tries to help or sympathize. That is however, until he meets Louisa. This is no conventional love story, but the relationship that grows between the two makes the book impossible to put down.

Have wine and tissues ready!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


I'd heard a lot of mixed reviews for this book. Some of my friends loved it, others hated it, saying it ruined the entire series for them. All I can say is that... I have mixed feelings about it as well. I didn't hate, although I certainly didn't love it. I thought the ending worked well for this series, even though I didn't like it (spoiler alert, I am a sucker for happy or semi-happy endings).

The middle of the book was really slow and it didn't pick up again til the end. That being said I still read it in two sittings. I think my favorite in the trilogy will always be the first one, but isn't that how it usually works? I don't want to talk to much about the book and give spoilers away, so I'll keep this review short. The conclusion was "meh" but it fit with the series. It will be interesting to see how this translates into the movie version.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Popular: A Memoir

I loved everything about this book, it was adorable, heartfelt, inventive, and daring. I can't believe fifteen year old Maya von Wagenen has already achieved more in her life than I have. Kudos to her! I wish I had been as brilliant as her to come up with this awesome social experiment!

When Maya was eleven and starting the eighth grade, her father rediscovered an old thrift shop gem, "Betty Cornell's Teenage Popularity Guide," an awesome guide to amazingness from the fifties. Instead of scoffing at the outdated ideas and old trends, Maya's mother challenged her to live the book and live out the ideals, diets, fashions, and manners from that era for an entire year. Painfully shy and at the bottom of the social scale Maya decided to give it a shot. The result of her year long social experiment is this awesome memoir that reads like a personal diary. In it Maya shares, pictures, tips, drawings, musings from life, school, and church and observations about how kids from her school are handling her changes.

It's awesome book and it's amazing how many of the tips and lessons from Betty Cornell's book still hold true. Sixty years later those words help change a shy awkward girl into a confident, outgoing, and happy girl. A definite must read!!!! It's funny, emotional, awkward, and honest. Great for mother daughter book clubs, bookworms, fifties fashionistas, and more. LOVED it!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Bees

An intriguing look into the life of a bee and her hive. I never would have imagined that someone could write an entire book from the perspective of a bee, but boy was I wrong! Laline Paul beautifully writes the story of Flora 717, a lowly sanitation worker whose peculiar observations and actions set her apart from the other bees. Flora 717 longs to do more than clean the hive, she wants to be near her Queen mother, be able to fly and forage for food, lay eggs, and see the world. Her aspirations set her apart and in no time she is jumping from job to job in the hive. This book really illustrates the industrious lives of all the bees who live in hives. From the sanitation workers to the drones, foragers, and priestesses, no stone is left un-turned in this highly imaginative and highly researched novel. You will learn more about bees then you ever knew existed and will hold them in higher regard for this fascinating read is most eye opening.

A must read for gardeners, insect lovers, and.... really anyone. It's fascinating!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Ranger's Trail

Each book in the Texas Trails series has its own unique voice (due to, in part, the myriad of writers that author the books). "A Ranger's Trail" is no exception this book takes place several years after the last installment and spotlights new characters in the Morgan family. Leta Denning is widowed after an angry German mob murders her husband in front of her and their child. Now nearly a year later another mob has formed, this one, behind an ex-Texas Ranger, is out exacting vengeance on the German mob for killing Leta's husband and one of the ranger's friend. It has turned into a regular old blood feud and no one is safe. Enter Buck Morgan, a Texas Ranger who is trying to get to the bottom of the fiasco and find out who belongs to which mob. Things become muddled thought when he meets Leta and finds himself falling for her charms. He is sworn to uphold the law, but it gets harder as his family is involved and his heartstrings are being pulled.

A fast paced novel about how vengeance tears apart the best of people. Like the characters we need to learn the hard lesson of forgiving one another, even when the crimes committed are pretty much unforgivable.

For fans of Christian historical romance and westerns.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

On the Shoulders of Giants

This is hands down a must read! When my uncle suggested I read this, I was skeptical. It didn't look all that amazing. But he finally wore me down and I'm so glad he did, because I enjoyed the shit out of this work!

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar combines history and personal narratives to produce an enriched account of the Harlem Renaissance and how it impacted his personal beliefs, ideologies, and life. Kareem explores three major sections of the Harlem Renaissance: the literary achievements of black legends, basketball, and the roots of jazz. I'm no history expert, but I sure as hell learned a lot more about black culture and history then I ever did in my textbooks or college course in African American History. Sometimes it can be challenging to make historical events exciting, but with all the rich material from this era, Kareem has no problem bringing it to life and showing how it impacted his early years.

A fascinating and eye opening read. A must read for fans of history, civil rights, basketball, jazz, etc. There is something in it for everyone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Library Services to the Incarcerated: Applying the Public Library Model in Correctional Facility Libraries

For being kind of a heavy topic, this book managed to be super informative, intriguing, humorous at times (definitely helped with the tone of the book), and downright inspiring. I loved it! This is a great book to read if you're considering working in a prison library. While I don't want that to be my sole job (I love being a teen librarian!) I would like to offer book talks/programs/book-carts to the local county jail instead of just to the juvenile detention facility. The authors are right, it's a unique opportunity to help out one of the most underserved populations in the county! I would rather my tax dollars go to help inmates get back on their feet and become better educated and informed citizens then having them get back into the real world and recommit all their crimes. Libraries can help out prisoners in their time of need and vastly change their lives on the inside so that when they go back outside they have a new perspective, they know they're not worthless and they're not alone. Studies have shown that one in every fifteen Americans will go to jail or prison at least once in their lives. That's a pretty high figure! While you can't help or reform everyone behind bars, you can give them an opportunity. Sometimes the smallest thing, a book, can make all the difference!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Death by the Book

I'd been waiting for a good mystery so I'm glad this came to me at the time it did! I noticed right away that this was the second in a series (the Drew Farthering series) but like any good mystery series worth its salt, it hardly mattered that I had never read the first one.

Drew Farthering a dapper Englishman with a wealthy estate and penchant for crime novels wants nothing more than to marry his American sweetheart and enjoy the summer of '32. Unfortunately, a murderer has other plans and is killing off people associated with Drew. Farthering finds himself doing a bit of sleuthing on his own and trying to aid the police where he can before the murderer kills him, or worse, the love of his life.

Set in the quaint English countryside this mystery is filled with bundles of charm and jolly good fun. It keeps you guessing right up til the end and is perfect for fans of historical pieces and mysteries.

I received this book for free from Bethany House in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, May 5, 2014

You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News

You Might Be a Zombie and other Bad News. 5 CDs. 6 hrs. unabridged. Tantor Audio. 2014. ISBN 978149500245. $39.99. 
Hilarious and intriguing, this audiobook will fill in all the gaps in your childhood education that you never knew were missing. compiled the zaniest, most terrifyingly mind blowing lists of bizarre factoids, stories, and history for your listening pleasure. This compilation covers science, pop culture, nature, urban legends, psychology, historical intrigues, and will leave you questioning everything you ever thought you knew. Jellybeans, dolphins, the color blue, IBM, LSD, and poop are just some of the many things you will find yourself learning about. Listeners will become vastly more prepared for obscure Jeopardy questions and bar trivia. Narrator and two time Audie Award winner, Johnny Heller, brilliantly narrates this ridiculously hilarious compilation and clearly has a great time in the process. For fans of trivia, humor, and history. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, IN

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Miss Brenda and the Loveladies

This is the heartwarming tale of how a crazy rich white woman took in a group of rag tag hardened criminal women on parole and helped change their lives, in the process changing hers. After narrowly avoiding going to prison herself, Miss Brenda decided that she should do something for the women in prison and help them get back on their feet. She opened her mansion to them, and after a rocky start she was able to convince the felons that all she wanted to do was help them. A few women failed to live up to her expectations and were thrown back into prison, but nearly all of them enjoyed being Loveladies and turned their life around with help from Miss Brenda. This story is mostly told through Brenda's perspective but several chapters contain accounts from the women she took in. It's amazing that one small act has since grown into the largest faith based rehabilitation program for female felons and addicts in the country. An uplifting story that will make you want to get off your butt and go make a difference in the world.

For fans of Christian memoirs, addictions abuse recovery, and feel good stories.

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

Friday, May 2, 2014

October Mourning: a Song for Matthew Shepard

I haven't had poetry move me so much in a while. This collection of poems brings to life the horrifying and brutal murder of gay, twenty one year old Matthew Shepard in 1998. Lesbian poet, Leslea Newman (author of "Heather Has Two Mommies") recounts the shameful and shocking incident with true grace and raw emotion. The sixty eight different poems explores the impact of Matthews deaths through fictitious monologues from the perspective of: the fence, the killers, the biker who found him, Matthew himself, mothers across the country, and more. It's a very moving piece of work and definitely deserving of the Stonewall Honor it received. A must read for everyone!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

American Chronicles: World War I Audiobook Review

American Chronicles: World War I. 3 CDs. 3.5 hrs. High Bridge Audio. 2014. ISBN 9781622313853. $24.95. 

NPR compiled this wonderful assortment of World War I stories to mark the 100th anniversary of "The War to End All Wars." Included in this three disc set are: first hand accounts from veterans, author talks with noted war historians, poetry, broadcasts from that era, and many often overlooked stories and battles. From the last of the dough-boys to the Christmas Truce of 1914, this compilation is a must for fans of military history. Not only does it shed light in the first World War, but is sets the stage for the factors and scenarios that triggered the second World War as well. Fans of American and cultural history will also enjoy the commentary and stories on a wide variety of topics from the "Bonus Army" to Armistice Day and the Great Depression. Hosted by Rachel Martin, this NPR Collection is a must for military buffs and novices; there is something for everyone.  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson County Public Library, Franklin, Indiana