Monday, August 31, 2015

Slaughterhouse Five

After re-reading this for a fourth time I picked up on so many new elements that I had somehow overlooked the first two times. I know the character, Kilgore Trout, shows up in most Vonnegut novels but I had totally missed the fact that Howard J. Campbell, the American Nazi war criminal from "Mother Night," makes a few brief appearances in here and so does Eliot Rosewater. I feel like an idiot for missing key pieces like that! I'm getting rusty!

Anyways, this is probably one of the best instances of Kurt Vonnegut's literary genius. It's a staple in every collection and is one of the best "anti-war" books there is. Vonnegut is a master at conveying the absurdity of war and does a brilliant job of getting his point across by introducing the unforgettable Billy Pilgrim. Billy has come unstuck in time and "Slaughterhouse Five, or the Children's Crusade" is Billy's journey back and forth through different parts of his life. Billy surviving the fire bombing in Dresden during World War II, Billy marrying his wife, Billy being abducted by aliens, and Billy practicing optometry. The prose and the back and forth of all these moments is brilliant and some of Vonnegut's most memorable quotes are found in these pages.

If you haven't read this already, what are you waiting for?

Inspector Dewey

An adorably illustrated story that kids will keep coming back to. Dewey, rather Inspector Dewey, will delight readers of all ages as he recounts his story of mystery, bravery, and good ol' sleuthing. Dewey may be a cat, but he's no ordinary cat. One night, he was able to put his inspector skills to the test and keep his family safe from a mysterious figure lurking outside. Filled with hilarious phrases "Crusty Cod!", gorgeous illustrations, and intrigue; this picture book is worth every penny. I hope to see more in a series! Intended for readers 3 and up, (younger kids will love the pictures, but may struggle understanding some of the vocabulary).

I received this book for free from iRead Book Tours in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

This is What I Did

So this is a book discussion book that I'm reading with teens in the juvenile detention facility. I'm hoping they really dig the short breezy sections, the absence of chapters, and intrigue. As an adult reading this, I picked up the "twist" fairly quickly. However, hopefully teens who aren't heavy readers will still be surprised at the end. The story follows Logan as he comes to term with his new school, his shitty life, and his past. Something horrible happened last year. Something soo horrible that he can't talk about it or forget it. He should have stopped it but he didn't. And now it's slowly ruining his life and his reputation. All the kids at his new school think there is something horribly wrong with Logan, are they right? Reader's will try to piece together what happened and have to decide how they feel about Logan afterwards. Is everything black and white or are there shades of gray?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You're Making Me Hate You

Corey Taylor's third book is all that it promises and more. He's pulled out all the stops on this one and if you thought he was loud, crass, and in your face in his other books, you've got another thing coming! This time Corey focuses on things that piss him off, namely... YOU (people in general really). It's beyond cantankerous, picture an old man yelling with a beer in one hand and a shotgun in the other, maybe throw in some cigarettes, pit bulls, and expletives and you get the drift. He bemoans all that is wrong with our society, in crass hysterical writing and tries to offer some "humble" advice so we lowly dirtbags don't pass through life being soo moronic and self-absorbed. I should clarify however, that it is not a self help book. It's a big rant, broken into sections that contain observations, advice, and some hilarious stories to help illustrate his many points. Not for the faint of heart, this diatribe is for fans of Corey Taylor, cranky old men, and people who are just fed up with the dumb fucks.

The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears

A very concentrated history covering the Trail of Tears and the decade of failed treaties surrounding it. Being pretty ignorant on the subject other than what I "learned" in school I was excited to immerse myself in a history book that would expand what little I knew. While this was an enlightening book, it was very concentrated and I hate to say it, but a little dry. This is not for the light reader, this is for the dedicated history of Native American scholar. This nonfiction book focused on the numerous failed treaties and betrayal of the American government to protect and care for the Cherokee nation. The actions (rather inaction) of the American government was shameful and appalling and I was impressed that the author didn't do a lot of finger pointing (although it would have been very, very easy to do). An enlightening, depressing read for fans of history and American/ Native relations.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This is one of those books that I can't believe I've waited soo long to read. Honestly, it's a bit of a travesty that I waited nearly 27 years of my life to get around to reading this. I made the fortunate decision to listen to the audiobook version narrated by Douglas Adams himself and I was not disappointed. He perfectly captured the essence of his work with his fast paced, British, odd humored narration. Perfection. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is the first of its series and hilariously recounts the adventures of Arthur (a human earthling) and Ford (an experienced alien hitchhiker) as they try to muddle their way around the galaxies. Ridiculousness abounds. Excellent, tongue in cheek book and I can't wait to read the next in the series.


Rain, it inspires kissing, dancing, reading, or glumness, anger, and depression. It can make crops grow or make them die. Depending on where in the world you live it can be a daily occurrence and for many of us, it is never once delved into. Before reading this book I couldn't tell you if I had ever really thought about rain other than, "Damn this is going to ruin my hair." It's something we take for granted. Cynthia Barnett goes into detail and explore the natural and cultural history of rain, and trust me, it's fascinating. Rain is more than just the frowny face on the weatherman's report, it's an essential part of life as we know it. Barnett captures the beauty and mystery of raindrops, thunderstorms, and clouds; and once you read this book it is impossible to look at the sky again. Simply masterful.

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Real Thing

I didn't particularly have high expectations for this book because I'm not a big self help/advice book type of girl, but I will admit I was completely wrong. This book, despite its small size, packed a punch and was impossible to put down. Author, Ellen McCarthy, is a wedding journalist for the Post and spends her life attending hundreds of weddings, talking to marriage experts, and chronicling some of the best (and most depressing) real life romance stories. She put all that knowledge into this compact, easily readable little book that contains lessons and advice from her experience, real couples, and experts. There are five sections: dating, commitment, breakups, weddings, and making it last. Each section contains short chapters with little morals, lesson, advice, and tidbits that she has gleaned. It's fantastic. It's most ideal for the single girl, BUT there is also great advice for people in relationships or people who are already married. Everyone will walk away with something. I loved it and will definitely return to it again. A refreshing, inspiring read.

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

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pirate Hunters

I could not put this book down! Utterly fascinating! Underwater archaeology and treasure hunting is right up my alley though, so it's no wonder I fell head over heels for this book. It reads like an adventure novel, which I suppose it is, a real life adventure. Two acclaimed divers and treasure hunters spend years trying to track the sunken "Golden Fleece" pirate ship using old hunches, historical references, and modern technology. They keep coming up empty handed but they don't let that deter them. Author, Robert Kurson, tells their story along with seventeenth century pirate, Joseph Barrister. Pirate stories and legends abound, as does other treasure hunts. Compelling and impossible to put down. What an adventure!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Bronte Sisters

I've read both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights but I had little to no idea about the authors. I knew there were two Bronte sisters, but I didn't know about the youngest, Anne. This middle grade biographical look at the Bronte sisters is a fascinating look into the Victorian era as well as their personal lives and what they drew inspiration from. It's full of pictures and illustrations that help tell their story. Sadly, all three died young (not to mention their other non-published siblings!) and had pretty tragic lives. Perfect for fans of literature and Victorian England. A great read.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Fantastic! An easy, intriguing, exciting read! Great for younger audiences (middle school), but really intended for anyone with a bit of curiosity about the ol' Tommy Gun. Author, Karen Blumenthal, does a great job of fleshing out the origins of the gun, the inventor of it, and it's rise and fall. Lots of attention is given to the gangsters who gave it a bad name during the prohibition and depression. Delving into the seedy gangsters and how they abused the power of the Tommy gun was beyond fascinating. A captivating look at the gun that changed America.

After the Red Rain

An intriguing new take on the teen teen post-apocalyptic/dystopian genre from bestselling YA author, Barry Lyga (and Peter Facinelli and Robert DeFranco). Cool concept but not earth shattering, I'm wondering if there will be more in this series, the ending certainly leaves room for that! Basically the premise of this story is that Earth is almost dead. Concrete and death are everywhere, the air is mostly unsafe and the only green thing that grows is death. Nobody alive remember what the world used to be like. They are content to live in the ruins and live off off genetically modified "rations." Deedra never questions anything, she just goes with the flow and works hard, without causing trouble. That is until she meets Rose. Rose, crosses the dangerous and toxic river from another territory and is unlike anything Deedra has ever encountered before. He KNOWS things and turns her small isolated world upside down. Until.... duh duh duh, shit happens. Cool book and I would be up for reading a sequel maybe. It didn't rock my socks but it was a fast read.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Drunken Fireworks

At first, the ridiculousness of the narrator's voice annoyed me, but as I stuck with it, I fell in love with his storytelling. It's rough, drunk, and redneck sounding and fits the vibe of the story perfectly. This latest short story by Stephen King tells of an escalating fireworks battle between two lakeside neighbors. Each year the two try to outdo each other until the inevitable happens. Hilariously told, this is a must for fans of Stephen King and short stories.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What Lies Within

High school senior, Shelley, receives a text saying "You're going to die" and suddenly her universe is thrown out of whack. As she tries to get to the meaning of it she discovers some very hard truths, one of which being that she was adopted. The weirdness doesn't stop there, she soon finds out that she isn't the only one being threatened; there are others and she needs to find out why before it's too late. Her ho hum life will never be the same and she has to get to the bottom of it before her best friend or father are harmed in the process. Cool story-line with a nice plot twist, this is a great read for both teens and adults. Kick-ass heroine as well.

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Another great novel from Ernest Cline! I know it's wrong to compare Armada to his first work, Ready Player One, but I can't help it! Armada is good, but not "as" good as Cline's first novel. However, he has definitely found himself a niche and I hope he keeps writing in this gamer/sci-fi/pop culture genre. Because he is king. Also, Wil Wheaton has to read every audiobook version. HAS TO! (if you couldn't tell I listened to the audio). Quick summary is that a teenage gamer sees a flying saucer straight out of one of his video games, what happens next is enough to blow his mind. Read it! And then re-read Ready Player One because they're both too damn good to only read once!

We Were Liars

Beautifully written, the words will haunt you long after you've put down the book. Beautiful, wealthy, privileged Cady spends her summers on a privately owned island with her extended family. They laugh, they play, they have a great time until they don't. The summer of Cady's fifteenth year is a blur, all she knows is she can't remember what happened. There is a void in her life that she is determined to fill with memories. The summer of her fifteenth year she goes back to the Sinclair island, only this time everything is different. Everyone is lying to her. What are they trying to protect her from? Engaging, perfect for both teens and adults, especially those who like dark twists.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Hotel Moscow

As someone whose traveled to Russia, studied Russian history, and read a multitude of books on the country, I still managed to learn a lot! My studies generally ended around the fall of communism, so I was generally aware of the corruption that seeped into the country afterwards, but I had no idea the extent of it, and especially aimed at women! This novel explores what life was like for young entrepreneurial women (and women in general) in post communist Russia. It was no cakewalk as American financial advisor, Brooke Fielding, finds out first hand. Brooke has identity and personal issues of her own, and helping these Russian women just may help her solve those problems and help others in the process. Eye opening and intriguing!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Andre the Giant

I've always been a huge fan of Andre the Giant, ever since I discovered The Princess Bride as a child. This graphic novel pieces together Andre's life and it comes apparent pretty quickly that it wasn't all rosy. Andre was ridiculed as a child, and when he finally made it to the doctor as an adult he was told that with his condition he wouldn't live past 40. Despite all the odds, he made a career in wrestling and gained popularity all over the world. He may not have been a saint, but he was a lost soul, looking for acceptance and a pain free life. Fantastic, albeit depressing, graphic novel. A must read for wrestling fans, or anyone who ever admired Andre the giant.

Infinite Jest

I FINALLY FINISHED IT!!!  I nearly had a Rocky moment where I ran up the stairs arms raised high. It felt THAT good. Summarizing this novel is nearly impossible so bear with me. The story centers on a certain movie, Infinite Jest, that is soo good that anyone who watches can't look away. They will continually watch it over and over, forgoing, food and drink, eventually dying. The lengths to which the higher ups will go to obtain the master copy start to get unsettling. Soon a local tennis academy and a halfway house for addicts get swept up in the melee. Told through the perspective of a dozen or more characters, this tour de force will engage readers and take away their lives for however long (two and a half weeks for me!) it takes them to finish this tome. Imaginative, impressive, and filled with dark humor, this novel will resonate with readers.