Thursday, October 22, 2015

After Alice

I hate to give books such bad reviews, I really do. So, I'll try to start this nicely. It was EXTREMELY well written. There was witty dialogue, beautiful scenery, and wonderful detail paid attention to the time frame.... and that's all that I can admire. To be fair, I'm not a huge fan of the original Alice in Wonderland, so it's not shocking that I don't love this companion. I hate stories that are fanciful, fluffy, and have no point. It's pure nonsense and I have a hard time getting into nonsense writing. I like fantasy and sci-fi as long as there is a plot but Alice in Wonderland is nothing but fluff and nonsense and this new addition is no different. Not my cup of tea.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

A little hard to get into at first, but after a time I was FLYING through it and could not put it down. I had seen the movie about ten years ago but didn't really remember what happened so I was still shocked by pretty much everything. Told through the viewpoint of Chief, the longest resident in the asylum, this story chronicles the changes that take place when Patrick McMurphy, a loud swaggering gambler, comes to the mental hospital. Happy to be off the work farm he thinks that the hospital will be a nice respite from hard labor, but little does he realize how trapped he'll soon become. The big nurse (Mrs. Ratched) has it out for McMurphy from day one and it becomes a battle of the wills to see who will come out on top. Fascinating and heartbreaking. I can't wait to watch the movie again. What a brilliant classic!

Friday, October 16, 2015


After a failed kidnapping attempt, average, ordinary New York resident, Karen Brown has to open her eyes to some harsh new realities. Things aren't as they seem and her family history is suddenly more complex then she realized. Both parents are dead but, it's her mother's ancestry that is suddenly important. She always knew her mother was from Roma Nova, a European country, but she didn't realize that her mother was from a very powerful and wealthy family. As her 25th birthday approaches Karen stands to inherit a lot of money and a business, a fact that was unbeknownst to her, but very clear to her new enemies. A representative from Roma Nova comes to New York to inform and protect Karen but things quickly get deadly as an assassin with nothing to lose won't stop pursuing Karen. Will she ever be safe again in New York? Fast paced this book will appeal to fans of political thrillers, alternate history, and strong female leads.

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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Verjuice in the Kitchen

It's no secret that I'm a novice in the kitchen. Thankfully this small collection of recipes is not rocket science, the food is wonderful and beautiful and actually achievable. The hardest ingredient to find is what the book is named after, the verjuice. After some searching I was able to find it in a health food store and I'll be damned if its not amazing. I'm having fun trying to incorporate it into the few dishes I'm comfortable making. I also tried a few recipes included in this book, the pumpkin soup (it's the right season!) and the potatoes. I loved how the verjuice complemented the potatoes and will most definitely be making it for thanksgiving. As a vegetarian about half of the recipes didn't apply to me, but I lent this book to my dad and he said he was dying to try the piri piri chicken and crab and clam chowder. So between the two of us we might actually get through the whole cookbook! The pictures accompanying each recipe are beautiful and the ingredients and recipes themselves are not that complicated. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes to cook and is looking to branch out into other ingredients (namely verjuice). For more information and to purchase this cookbook (or Adam's other cookbook, Live to Eat: Meals Everyone Can Make) visit,

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

Just Show Up

While insanely depressing, this book is important and will hopefully find its way to those in times of need. Thankfully, I don't need all the advice this book has to offer now, but I did learn some other important information and will be well prepared should tragedy strike. This book is a practical guide on how to be there for someone suffering cancer or loss or some other tragedy. It talks about how to show up, what to say and do, and how to make the greatest impact on your friend and on your soul. Written by the late Kara Tippets, a cancer patient, and her good friend Jill Lynn Buteyn this book offers good faith based and common sense advice. A must read for anyone wanting to help out others in their time of need.

I received this book for free from Litfuse publicity in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I re-read this book roughly, every two or three years. This re-reading was even better than most because I got the new beautifully illustrated edition. It's stunning and the pictures add soo much to the story. Worth every penny! I sincerely hope they illustrate all seven books. Take my money already!

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

After finishing the mammoth "Infinite Jest" I thought I would try reading (listening) to some of David Foster Wallace's short stories. While not a bad collection, it certainly wasn't my cup of tea either. Some of the short stories I really got into, the first one being my favorite, but as I continued listening, some of the stories lost their luster. They were all beautifully written, but some of the plots and characters I could not get into. It happens! Even though I didn't love this short story collection about "hideous men" I am still a huge fan of David Foster Wallace's work and prose and it won't deter me from reading more of his stuff.

Carter Finally Gets It

This book really captures horny teenage boys. It's super relatable and doesn't feel as if it was written by an older author, teens will definitely get a kick out of it! The story follows Carter as he enters his freshman year of high school. He's trying to fit in, lose his virginity, be good at sports, understand girls, and understand what the allure of drinking is. It's brutally honest and teenagers will absolutely relate with it. There is lewd and illicit behavior, cursing, cops, underage drinking and sex so some conservative teens and parents might not buy into this book, but I didn't think it detracted from the story, it just made it more believable. Laugh out loud funny and will bring back painful memories of high school for all who read it.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders

A fascinating memoir by a girl, whose brain isn't all there. Thought to have a myriad of disorders (ADD, anxiety, etc), it isn't until Cole is in her twenties that she gets tested and is told she is seriously neurologically impaired and has a hole in her brain the size of a lemon). Because of this Cole can't tell the difference between left and right, can't drive, can't follow directions, tell home much time has paced, and dozens of other things that make living independently very very hard. This memoir talks about the struggle of coming to terms with her diagnosis and trying to find new ways to complete some of the most basic of tasks with dignity and resolve. Inspiring and intriguing. This was a fascinating read.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

It's a Wonderful Death

Wonderfully snarky, this young adult book was a breeze to read and teens will definitely get a kick out of it. All hell breaks loose (almost literally) when a grim reaper accidentally takes the wrong soul. RJ was a young, popular seventeen year old just days away from winning the Homecoming Queen crown, when she was snatched away and taken to the afterlife. Understandably upset, she causes a ruckus until the angels and death himself agree to meet with her and look over her unusual case. RJ is willing to do whatever it takes to get back to Earth even if it means going on trial and undertaking a series of tests that will show (or not show) her true merit. Cute and witty, this is a great book for teens by a wonderful new Hoosier author.

The Daughters of Jim Farrell

I started this story skeptical, but ended as a fan. At first I only liked one of the three sisters (Virginia), but over time I came to understand and appreciate the emotions and actions of all of them. The story follows three sisters and their mother as they deal with the after effects of their father's hanging. Believed by all (but the family) to have killed another man, he was sentenced to death. Angered and wanting vengeance, the eldest sister Kate decides to hire a Pinkerton to investigate the murder and clear her father's name. The more they discover, the deeper they fear the secret lies. Set in the heart of coal country in the late 1800s, this story also sheds light on the plight of poor miners and their families and the absolute authority that the bosses had over their workers. Eye opening and full of historical intrigue, this story is sure to reach a wide variety of audiences. It's historical, full of romance and mystery, and considered to be inspirational or Christian. A surprisingly good read.

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

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Best of Pop Culture Happy Hour

I'm a big fan of NPR so I was more than thrilled to listen to the best podcasts from pop culture happy hour. It included favorite discussions such as: nudity, profanity, the art of the mix-tape, bloopers, movie trailers, and fiascoes. The discussions are hilarious, thoughtful and always classy. It was a delight getting to listen to this two disc set this week on my way to and from work. I hope they release more sets like this! A great introduction for someone new to NPR and a must have for a fan of it!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Girl Waits with Gun

Cute, inventive, and hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the escapades of the three Kopp sisters, even more so when I discovered that this story is loosely based off true events! When an automobile collides with a horse and buggy and the buggy is ruined, the eldest sister, Constance, decides to take matters into her own hands and get the thug who was driving the car to pay. Little does she realize though that this thug is not to be messed with. Soon come the threatening letters, shots fired at the house, bricks thrown into windows. The girls finds themselves in over their heads. They turn to the sheriff for help before things escalate too quickly. My favorite character is the youngest sister Fleurette, who has a wonderful knack for creativity and seeing the positive side in everything. An enjoyably quick read.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Estes, Kelli. The Girl Who Wrote in Silk. 10 CDs. unabridged. 12.5 hrs. Blackstone Audio. 2015. ISBN 9781504606042. $34.95. 

Estes debut novel will enthrall fans of Asian American History. The story alternates between the turn of the nineteenth century and present day, where Inara finds a beautifully embroidered sleeve hidden in the staircase at her newly inherited island estate. Intrigued, she asks a professor of Asian history to help her find out more and together they discover a centuries worth of secrets, horror, and love stitched onto the delicate sleeve. As they are unraveling the mystery behind the sleeve, alternating chapters reveal the sorrowful life of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl who left behind her story stitched on silk. Loosely based on historical fact, this eye opening and beautifully written novel will captivate readers and leave them wanting more. Beautifully narrated by Emily Woo Zeller who helps bring the story alive with her delicate, yet masterful prose. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. P.L., Franklin, IN

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Beasts: 16 More Weird Stories

A harrowing collection of odd creepy, and bizarre short stories that is perfect to get you in the spirit for Halloween. Brendan Detzner assembles a great collection of "things that go bump in the night" short tales, ranging from ghost stories, paranormal, horror, science fiction, and more. Readers will delight in the creepily told stories of the skeleton man, chupacabras, artificial intelligence, and haunted figures. Some tales will delight, others chill, but all will entrance you. This collection is hard to put down and readers will find themselves coming back to it again and again. For fans of Neil Gaiman and Ray Bradbury.

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