Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Love in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

This debut novel from author, Judd Trichter, is stunning. It's unique take on future robotics and the fascinating world building that seamlessly occurs had me hooked from page one. Eliot Lazar has fallen in love with a bot, a punishable crime, all he can think of is kicking his drug habit and stealing her away to a cult like island community that doesn't frown on bot/heartbeat relationships. The only problem is, his bot lover, Iris, has gone missing. The police have no interest in the case because she isn't his property and she is just a bot, but Eliot won't take no for an answer. He fortifies himself with the drip, a powerful drip, and discovers that Iris has been dismantled and it's up to him to track down all of her parts and hope to God that when he reassembles her, she'll be the same bot that he loves. Epic debut and great read!

Monday, June 29, 2015

So Many Roads

When it comes to the Grateful Dead, I am a novice and a half. I know maybe four songs, their artwork, Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia, and stories of their rampant drug abuse. That was about the sum total of Dead knowledge I had before listening to this audiobook. I am happy to say that this book was a crash course in understanding the Dead lore, history, music, and legend. I will never be the world's biggest fan, but I most definitely appreciate the Grateful Dead more than ever before. This book pieces together the band's 50 year history and sheds light on all the members, the music, and the drama. Confusing at times (it's not always told in the most linear fashion), but worthwhile, this book is a must read for any Deadhead and a great introduction for newbies like me. It was comprehensive, but not overwhelming, and has definitely converted me to the dark side :)

I received this book for free from Library Thing in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Gotham Academy

Gothic Academy home to the wealthiest and most elite students in Gotham City and apparently a ghost that is scaring all the students. Olive Silverlock is hoping that her second year at the academy will kick off to a good start but it does anything but. She gets stuck looking out for her ex boyfriends annoyingly cute little sister, and then all the weird ghost drama and mysterious goings on, have her on the look out. She ends up teaming up with some other students to investigate and see what is going on, on campus but none are prepared for the truth.  Slow at times, but still charming. The DC tie ins (Bruce Wayne, Cobblepot, Gotham, etc.) are also pretty cool.

Friday, June 26, 2015


One of a kind and totally unique, this story hooked me from the get go. Autism researcher Jane Dixon, has been testing a virus on rats and is amazed to discover that one of them, aptly named Einstein, has started developing amazing intelligence, he can count to 1,000, understand words, and can type out his thoughts. She decides to test it out on a dog and is amazed when he develops intelligence too. When she finally discovers that it only works when the test subjects are approaching the end of their adolescence she freaks out; her autistic son is rapidly approaching puberty. Against all ethics and morality and injects her son. What comes next is a full blown scandal, the CDC gets involved, it becomes transmittable and worse of all it has unforeseen side effects. Can she save her son? Vegetarians, Vegans, and animal lovers should especially enjoy this book as the animals continue to become more and more intelligent. An enjoyable read.

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Calves in the Mud Room

An enchanting novella that sucks you in on the very first page. Wade has big things planned, the girl of his dreams has asked him to go to the dance with her. He can hardly believe his luck! That is until he realizes the calves are coming, and they're coming if he's ready or not. Growing up on a cattle farm you think he would be used to it, but with his grandpa not long in the grave, his mom useless, and his stepfather a mean alcoholic, he's on his own. The calves couldn't pick a worse night to be born, all his wants to do is woo his beautiful date. To make matters even worse he realizes that his mom has taken him the car and left him with the ancient pick up truck, he's going to be late but at least he has something to look forward to. Or does he? A poignant coming of age novella that will resonate with readers of all ages. It's easy to sympathize with Wade and his horrible home life, so the reader keeps rooting for him, and the damn inconvenient calves. A fast, absorbing read.

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

The River Cottage Booze Handbook

I'll admit, I'm not even a novice when it comes to making booze, I'm a nothing. I can't even properly mix a drink and I tend to bastardize drinks by choosing the cheapest of ingredients (I'm a tightwad, I'll admit it). This guide has definitely made me inspired though to at least try infusing. I've always been jealous of all the home brewers out there and I'm super impressed with all the craft breweries, wineries, and meaderies that have cropped up in Indiana. I love craft beer and homemade wine and this book has inspired me to at least consider trying it. The book is broken into four sections: infusions, wines, ciders, and beers. Each section is meticulously broken down and filled with pictures and illustrations on how to attempt the process. It doesn't look as daunting as I imagined it, but it still looks a little out of my league. All of the recipes include are catered to the UK and the wild fruits, plants, and edible foliage out there, but most of it can be replicated here in the states as well. I plan on starting small and trying some of the heavenly sounding infusions: blackberry whiskey, raspberry vodka, pomegranate rum, and rhubarb vodka. I need to start making them now so they'll be readiny in a few weeks. I'm already thirsty!

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Growing Pains

A lovely coming of age book perfect for middle schoolers coming to grips with the complexities of their future and their families. Kendra doesn't have an easy life, her parents are always fighting about money, she is stressing about making the cheer-leading team, and she is having to make a decision about which high school she'll go to the following year. All of her troubles seem insurmountable and she has no idea how to handle the stress. Thankfully her best friend, her younger sister, and a cute basketball boy try their best to ease the stress. Teens will relate to the dysfunctional family dynamics, the school drama, and the hints of first romance. Set in New Orleans during the mid-eighties, there is a nice void of cellphones and social media which rids Kendra of twenty-first century struggles. Maddening at times, readers will appreciate how Kendra chooses to overcome her struggles and still try and stay positive when everything seems to be falling apart around her. A great middle grade-read!

I received this book for free from the author in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dream Lucky

An intriguing snapshot in time to when swing ruled the airwaves, FDR was president, and when the world was on the brink of another war. Told from alternating stories: Count Basie, Eleanor Roosevelt, radio shows, Benny Goodman, racism, the Joe Louis fight and more this intriguing look into the late 1930s has something to offer for everyone. I learned a lot about swing, Harlem, race relations, and Us policy, it's an easy delightful read that will put a smile on your face and make you want to listen to some good ol' swing.

Finders Keepers

A fantastic addition to Mr. Mercedes. It serves well as a standalone or sequel. It opens with the murder of a great American author and the theft of his money and unpublished works. More than 30 years later they are discovered buried in a steamer trunk by a kid. What he does with them may come back to haunt him. What will he do if someone comes looking for them? Full of thrilling twists and adventure, the story also includes the detective, good ol' Bill Hodges, from Mr. Mercedes along with some other beloved characters. I really enjoyed how they were tied in and the ending that leaves you hanging. It has almost a Hannibal Lector trilogy feeling to it. I can't wait to read the next installment!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Awesome

This book spoke to my soul; it was immature, crude, ridiculous, funny, and just damn good. You have have to have a dark irreverent sense of humor to enjoy it (I would assume it might enrage conservative christians for instance), but it might appeal to other audiences as well. It was darkly comedic and open about sexual experiences and was kind of reminiscent of Andrew Smith's "Grasshopper Jungle." The story follows a seventeen year old monster hunter who is apprenticing under her mother. While other kids are out shopping at the mall and listening to the latest pop songs, Maggie is out performing exorcisms, chasing werewolves, and kicking ass. She wants to get promoted but she is unable to do so until she loses her virginity. Vampires can't resist an innocent virgin and will frenzy when they scent pure blood. So until Maggie pops her cherry she can't hunt vampires and be a full fledged monster killer like her mother. What's a girl to do? Seriously, a must read. Sooo freiggin funny.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Drinking From a Bitter Cup

Like a punch to the gut, this book makes you see red. It's gripping, depressing, uplifting, and compelling all in one go. Ten year old Sylvia is sent to live with her father, whom she's never met, after her mother tragically takes her own life. Faced with hardship after hardship Sylvia is a model child, student, and friend, but inside she is struggling to make peace with what is going on in her life. Set in Alabama during the late 70s/early 80s, this novel will make readers question their willpower and wonder if they would have the courage and the strength to live as fiercely as Sylvia does in the face of adversity. An excellent debut novel.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Strangler Vine

The cover art and synopsis instantly hooked me and I knew I had to read this book. 1837. India. Colonial India. British Rule. Sold and sold. The story follows young Avery as he is tasked to helping a secretive older officer track down an acclaimed Indian poet who has gone missing. While trekking through the jungles and interacting with natives, Avery discovers that maybe British rule isn't as good for India as he had formerly thought. Corruption, starvation, and indifference seem to be the biggest gifts that the East Indian Trading Company has bestowed upon the natives. The further into the wilderness they go, the more Avery's morals and will will be tested. A fascinating historical novel that will open reader's eyes to the absurdity of Colonial rule. Intriguing all the way through.

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Oh my, I am soo glad I picked up this bad boy! It was even better than I anticipated!! You will want all your friends to read it so that you can talk about it and try to be as cool as the lumberjanes. Seriously, I want to be on their level. While at a summer camp for "Hardcore Lady-Types" five campers discover something mysterious going on in the wilderness surrounding their cabins. Three eyed foxes, yetis, a river monster, and rumors of a "Holy Kitten" keep the lumberjanes busy and drives their camp counselor up a wall. Hilarious and over the top, this comic amused me to no end. I was sold after the Holy Kitten, but it continued to get better after that, with sayings like, "What in the Joan Jett!?" minor hinting towards gay crushes, mythical creatures, and random rantings, this book has a little something for everyone. This is definitely one that I will buy and will continue to keep up with the series. Soo damn good!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

While Mortals Sleep

I love, love, love, Vonnegut. But I didn't love this collection. This short story collection was all formerly unpublished and and this collection was released posthumously. It's easy to see why some of the stories were passed over. They weren't awful, but some of them certainly weren't good. I wonder what Vonnegut would have rated them. A lot of the stories included has his signature twist at the end, ties to Indianapolis, and off the wall humor. Some were quite good in fact, but as a whole, I didn't walk away from this raving about how wonderful it was. Sometimes I feel as if publishers are scraping at the bottom of the barrel trying to capitalize off anything Vonnegut's pen or typewriter touched. Overall, a must read for any true Vonnegut fan, but nothing earth shattering. Not a great introduction to his work if you've never read anything by him before.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Don't Try to Find Me

I had a love hate relationship with this book. The story follows alternating viewpoints between a mother and her fourteen year old daughter after she has gone "missing." Marley fed up with her life and the sham of her parent's marriage decides to up and leave much to the surprise and shock of her family. Her parents, her mother especially, never saw it coming. They may not have been a perfect family unit, but Rachel can't see her only child running away. What's the motive, how could she have vanished without a trace? As the story progresses more of the family dynamic is brought to light and it's easy to see why Marley chose to run and why Rachel was able to turn a blind eye towards her daughters behavior. Marley's story is especially frustrating because the place that she fled too is not at all what she envisioned. Kids, NEVER blindly meet someone you met off the internet!! It will not end well!! An interesting read that explores family dynamics, fourteen year old angst, social media, and psychiatry.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Who's the New Kid

While this book isn't aimed at single twenty somethings, I still got a lot out of it. It is a very inspiring journey of a young overweight girl and her family, and the steps they had to take to turn their lives around. Breanna had been overweight her entire life, she was always the chubbiest, least athletic kid on the playground. Her pediatrician assured her parents that she would "grow into it" but by the age of 9 she was treading dangerously close to the 200 pound mark and her parents knew they had to really do something about it. For years they had eaten as unhealthily as possible and that had clearly taken a toll on their daughter. Unsure of where to start, Heidi (mom), slowly started changing their diet and enforcing after school sports as well as four, one hour walks a week. It was a long journey, but the whole family committed and the weight began to come off Breanna. Nearly a year later and she had shed nearly 80 pounds. She was a whole new person, and much to her delight, she discovered just how fun sports were. Included in the book is a 40 day meal and exercise plan with plenty of recipes. It's inspiring and has good advice for everyone. However it is mainly intended for parents with obese children.

I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ms. Marvel: Generation Why

The second installment of Ms. Marvel did not disappoint! We get a fun furry sidekick, a beast of a dog named lockjaw, and we get to meet Marvel superhero Wolverine! In this installment, Ms. Marvel is still battling her first and only real enemy, the Inventor. She finds out that he's been using kids as some sort of battery to charge his weird creations and she is determined to put a stop to it. She runs into Wolverine, as he's looking for one of Jean Grey's missing students. Together they find her but she's in bad shape. She's in a coma and has been used as one of the Inventor's battery things! Along the way Ms. Marvel finds out some interesting things about herself and her generation. I cannot wait for the third one. Such a fun series!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Great Beanie Baby Bubble

I have been dying to read this book since I first read the reviews in Library Journal and Kirkus. I am soo glad that the hype didn't let me down, I found this book endlessly fascinating. The amount of research that went into this book is staggering and I have mad respect for author, Zac Bissonnette, who made an old obscure topic, relevant, funny, and intriguing again. He talks about the founder, Ty Warner, the history of the company, the start of the craze, the madness ensuing, and the inevitable burst that left thousands in debt. It was a strange, wild, ride and learning all about the way the market and speculation drove beanie sales was fascinating. An interesting pop culture and financial read, full of random tid bits, factoids, and ridiculousness that you should not live without.

Hutterite Diaries

A must read for fans of the "plain lifestyle" and those interested in learning about Hutterite community. While not a cohesive memoir or story, it is still an engaging romp through memories and experiences. Hutterite author, Linda Maendel shares many stories about growing up in her community, values, and family living. Knowing next to nothing about this religion/culture, I thought it was definitely eye opening and not at all what I expected. I think I thought it would be closer to Amish living, but in fact it is quite different. Linda outlines many differences and misconceptions common folk have about their lifestyle as compared to the Amish. A quick, informative read, I was able to complete it within about two hours. I can see this being wildly popular at libraries.

I received this book for free from Litfuse Publicity in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Monday, June 1, 2015


This was beyond cheesy, it jumped off the deep end, belly-flopping into the unbelievable. Brooke is convinced by her super cool friends to attend an underground boxing match and while there she encounters, Mr. Man Meat, Remington Tate. From the moment he lays eyes on her he knows he has to have her. So he bullies her into giving him her number, stalks her online, discover she's an athletic trainer, and "hires her" for the next three months. There's lots of sexual tension around them and at first Brooke doesn't care, but the more she watches his rippling muscles in action the more she wants him. He's a hot tempered maniac, and she's a former Olympic has been, match made in heaven. There's a couple of steamy hot sex scenes, but most of the book just talks about how wet Brooke's panties get watching Remington. It's over the top, the sex is super unbelievable, and hell so is the whole premise and romance.