Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's Not Menopause... I'm just like this.

This was one of those gems that I got in a book club white elephant gift exchange. Sadly, this book describes my life a little more than I'm comfortable with and I'm not even 30 yet! As Maxine says, "Like good wine, I grow more mellow with age. And, as I age, I grow more mellow with wine." This little gift book contains dozens of "Maxine-isms," i.e. hilarious musing about life an aging. She's crass and sassy and it's impossible not to like her little comics. An amusing quick read.

A Wrinkle in Time

This was one of those classics that I never got around to reading as a child. Which is honestly quite a bummer, because as an adult, I couldn't relate to a lot of it. I found myself irrationally yelling at Meg for whining to much, whereas had I been nine I would have completely understood what Meg was going through. While this children's fantasy was good, I don't think I'll be checking out the rest of the quintet. The premise is that stubborn Meg and her younger brother Charles Wallace find themselves cavorting with a passel of witches, their schoolmate and newly found friend, Calvin, also comes along for the ride. Meg and Charles Wallace's father has been missing for several year and Mrs. Who, Mrs. Witch, and Mrs. Whatsit (the three witches) take the three children on a ride throughout the galaxy to find their father and help battle evil. It's full of fun and fancy (and hidden religious meanings) that young children will love. While I'm not inspired to read more of the series. I am inspired to check out the movie.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

To Kill a Mockingbird

I haven't read this since high school, but I'll be damned if it hasn't aged remarkably well. It was even better than I remembered it. It's down to earth and Scout is the perfect protagonist, as her childhood views and observations help cast the story in a new innocent light. Full of southern injustice and white privilege, this classic tale has much to offer American society. It's still as poignant as it was when it was first written and has just as much to offer us now. Brilliantly written, I'm far too scared to try and the sequel, "Go Set a Watchmen." I'm plenty content with this little masterpiece. Required reading, there is soo much to talk about!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Blood Rites

I have yet to meet a Dresden Files novel I didn't like, "Blood Rites" was no exception. From the first word to the last, I was riveted (and not just by James Marster's voice!). This installment Harry Dresden takes on a job from his "friend," Thomas and quickly gets more challenging then either of them expected. The black court is involved and Harry has to hire the mercernary, Kincaid, and ask his friend, Karen Murphey to help out as well otherwise he is a gonner! Like I said, great book. There's also a good twist involved too! I can't wait to read the next one!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Ms. Marvel Vol. 4 - Last Days

The fourth installment of the Ms. Marvel series is good, but not as jam packed as some of the other issues. We do get a fun cameo from Captain Marvel and the city (or world) is about to end, so there is that. But overall, I thought this issue was quick and a little lackluster. Not that it will stop me from reading more of them, it just didn't head in the direction I thought it was going to. Also, there is a nice little twist at the end. A little romance perhaps?

Things I Can't Explain

So I hadn't heard any buzz for this book but I happened across it at my library and was instantly sold when I saw that it was a "Clarissa Explains it All" novel for grown-ups. Like, how cool?!? The creator of the show (he also wrote for Ren and Stimpy, Rugrats, SNL, and National Lampoon) is also the author of the book which I really appreciated. He did a great job of growing Clarissa up and portraying her as an unemployed twenty-something girl in New York City. This book would appeal to 90's girls, fans of "new adult," and even teens. It's not plot heavy, it's very easy to see where the entire book is heading but it doesn't make it any less fun. There are fun drawings, charts, lists, and other elements to entice the reader. A good beach read; mindless but fun and quick.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Whatever is Lovely

One of the most beautiful religious adult coloring books on the market. I could not find a single fault with it. Even those who aren't overly religious will find themselves enjoying this coloring book. Beautifully illustrated, each page contains a proverb or psalm and has images to evoke the essence of the words for the reader color. As the book says, this book will help people color their way to peace and it isn't lying. The pages are one sided and perforated for easy rip outs which will entice many to frame or hang up the finished creations. For fans of coloring and Christianity. "Whatever is Lovely" will make the perfect gift for many this Christmas!

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

Carry On

A cute and engrossing read for fans of Fangirl, fantasy, Harry Potter and teen LGBT books. The fantasy world is well built and the spells and culture is awesome. I was also a huge fan of the characters. Told through multiple perspectives, Carry On tells the story of Simon Snow's final year at Watford (magic school) and his quest to defeat the Insidious Humdrum, find out what his conniving vampire roommate Baz is up to, and figure out what his place in the magical community is. Sometimes it's tough being the chosen one. Laugh out loud funny in parts, this story of magic, friendship, and love is well worth a read and not just for teens :)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Unlocking Worlds

This is a book lover's dream, contained in it's pages: are reading lists, book summaries, quotations, reading observations and more. It's a gem, especially for those who are plagued by the "what should I read next" syndrom. It's always a pleasure to read a book written and compiled by a fellow book lover; it's like they're talking directly to your soul. They get it. The insatiable need to read, consume fine literature, and escape into literary dreamscapes. Some of the book lists author, Sally Allen, compiles are a little off the beaten track and are thus more compelling and intriguing. Novels about the American experience, novels that play with time and space, novels that explore Russian life before and after the Soviet Revolution, and books for book lovers are just a few of the many lists that will entrance readers and many books to their "to read" lists. A fun read that will only make you want to read even more. A perfect christmas gift for the bibliophile in your life.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

She Came From Beyond

As one who has religiously read everything by Matthew Quick, I instantly devoured this witty and ridiculous novel. It made me snort with laughter, chuckle, and read passages out loud to my co-workers because they were too funny not to share. The premise of this delightful novel is that Easy Hardwick has had an affair. With a married man who has children. She didn't know about the children until after she sealed the deal, but that eventually becomes a moot point. She feels bad about it and cuts off all ties, but once she realizes she's pregnant with his twins, she calls him. From that point on her cushy life as a b-movie actress is about to get really really complicated. Filled with hilarious dialogue, relatable characters, and enviable jobs, this book has a little something for everyone. A fantastic debut novel and I can't wait for more!

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Fat Man

Full of hilarious puns and Christmas jokes. After a while it wears a little thin but it's all in good fun. It's amazing how author, Ken Harmon, is able to combine soo many elements of holiday lore into such a wild tale of noir. Gumdrop Coal is our hero, or rather, anti-hero. He's the leader of the coal patrol, and leaves Kringle Town once a year to leave coal for all the bad boys and girls. One day, that all ends and he finds himself out of a job, how did he get on the bad side of the fat man? Is he being frames? Is someone trying to ruin Christmas or take it away from Santa? In order to save his hide and reputation, Gumdrop must get to the bottom of the mystery. He finds himself confronting the misfit toys, enlisting the help of Ralphie and his red ryder bb gun, and some other elves. It will make readers chuckle, but it could have been wrapped up a little sooner. A creative and inventive holiday read.

Where's Karl?

A must have for fashionistas and Where's Waldo fans. This hilarious fashion forward parody follows Karl Lagerfeld  through fifteen cities across the globe. Besides finding Karl there is a huge cast of characters to be found as well, his trusty cat Choupette, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Diddy, Madonna, Martha Stewart, Angelina Jolie, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and dozens more celebrities. It's fun spotting them in the crowd and see what ridiculousness they're doing. Some scenes are quite hard to spot Karl in, but others less so. At the end of the book there is a checklist of additional items that can be found in each scene. It brought me back to my childhood for a minute. The scenes are bright and colorful and it's a book you can come back to time and again or let your kids play with. A great Christmas gift!

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Home & Garden Devtions

If you're one of those people that likes to start or end a day with a little story, a little motivation, and a little scripture, then this is just the book for you! Each daily devotional contains a small memory or story from author Sandra Byrd who then ties it into a positive thought process to get you motivated and lift your spirits, she then finds the perfect bible scripture to end it out. From weeding your garden to appreciating the surrounding beauty, to observing the wonderment of nature and wildlife, this daily devotional is perfect for the Christian gardner or really anyone who wants to add a little joy and perspective to their lives. I don't garden and I was still inspired and moved by the observations and stories. Sometimes it really is just the little things. A great Christmas gift for your loved ones to start out the new year with!

I received this book for free from Tyndale Press in return for my honest, unbiased review.

Just Mercy

This was one of the most moving, heartfelt, and uncomfortable books I have ever read. I could not put it down. It angered me, it saddened me, it made me want to do more with my life. I knew aspects of the justice system; namely death row, racial inequalities, and juvenile sentences were broken, but I didn't realize how badly broken. This opened my eyes in a way nothing else has for a long time and it should be required reading. Bryan Stevenson has led his life helping people on death row get counsel, overturning hundreds of wrongful convictions, crusading for rights of the underprivileged and mass incarcerated populations of our society and is the type of person we should all aspire to be. He formed the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama and has saved the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of wrongly convicted people. As he often mentions in the book, "I believe that each person is more than the worst thing that they've ever done." So simple and so powerful. The stories of his clients that he shares are heartbreaking and humbling and more than once I was turned into a sobbing mess. I cannot recommend this book enough.

The Vegetarian

A book like this is hard to accurately describe. It's chilling, beautiful, sad, haunting, and very Margret Atwood-esque. Yeong-hye lived a boring, conventional, ordinary life with her husband until she decided to give up meat when she had a disturbing dream. In a society where eating meat is a cultural staple, this act of "defiance" is seen as a moral failing. Why would anyone want to be more plant-like? Is Yeong-hye right in the head? Told through three perspectives over the course of several years, this tale shows how one seemingly innocent decision can irreparably ruin one's life and alter those of your friends and family. Surprisingly dark and haunting, this book has much more depth than can be accurately described.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Explorer's Guild

The layout of this book is truly beautiful. Its a mixture of comic panels, text, maps, and illustrations. The eye catching quality of it is what prompted me to pick up this book in the first place. That and one of the authors is Kevin Costner. I was intrigued. The book takes place during the great war but it isn't really set in the European Theater, it follows a group of explorers as they travel all over the world, New York, Tibet, India, Asia, and more. Their fearless leader Major Ogden is looking for a "mythical" city in order to save his brother whose only hope at living is to refind this city that he has no memory of. It's full of adventure, british imperialism, swashbuckling fights, Hollywood actresses, and adventure. While it lags in some parts and can be at times confusing, this book was engrossing. It reminded me of an older British Indiana Jones adventure. A must read for adventure fans.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Whispers in the Reading Room

The cover of this book make it look more foreboding than it actually is. While there are a few murders and a killer on the loose, it's not a huge mystery that our female lead solves, it's just background to her deteriorating life. Lydia Bancroft is a proud librarian. Even though she and her mother have fallen on hard times, the money she gets at work and the price she gets for pawning off family heirlooms help keep her and her mother afloat and they can at least pretend they are still part of good society. Her fiance, is a wealthy man and her mother awaits the day they can be married and be restored to their former splendor. All that changes however when she is out to tea with her fiance and he assaults her in public. A dashing young man who frequents her reading room comes to the aid and escorts her home. All her hopes for a prosperous future are dashed now that her engagement is broken. Could her new friendship with this dashing young man lead to something more? Is he hiding anything? What more does she have to lose? For fans of historical and inspirational romance. While it's the third in the series, I had no problem reading it without having read the first two prior.

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

The Thread That Binds

I don't know what I expected when I picked up this book, but I certainly DIDN'T expect to start falling in love with all the characters soo quickly. Five women with completely different backgrounds and problems find themselves inexplicably linked together. Sherice is a young mother who works two part time jobs, supports her husband, and somehow finds time to quilt when she's not worrying about her mother's descent into alzheimers. Slyvie is an expectant newly wed and newcomer to the United States. She and her active duty husband struggle to make ends meet and are trying to get the prenatal help they need to care for their unborn child. Joanne desperately wants to be a mom, but with no man in her life she convinces her gay best friend to get her knocked up. Payton is a seventeen year old pregnant runaway from Alabama who want to get her life back on track. And Gloria is married to an unloving cheater and the child she carries may not even be his. Together they tell each other their secrets, fix problems, and support each other as only new moms and friends can. An uplifting, laugh out loud, and thought provoking book. It contains something for everyone, not just moms or married women.

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Every Little Thing

I love that adult coloring books are trending. Finally! Now I'm not a weirdo, it's the cool thing to do! Out of all the adult coloring books, nature seems to be the predominant theme and "Every Little Thing" does well to capitalize on that. Filled with adorable woodland animals, retro designs, and whimsical everyday items, this sketches fill each page with hours of enjoyment. Set up to look like a kaleidoscope or wallpaper, this coloring book will literally melt the stress right off your shoulders. My only wish was that the pages were perforated for easy removal and that not all the designs were double sided. All in all, a great coloring book filled with detail to get your mind off all your problems.

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

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Drinking in America

I LOVED this book! I'm a huge fan of micro-histories, and while this subject is a little broad it all come back to the booze. Soo intriguing! Author, Susan Cheever, does a brilliant job of cataloging many of the incidents that helped make America great and then launches in to how booze played a part. Trust me, a big part. Why did the pilgrims land at Plymouth? Because they were running out of beer and didn't think they could make it to the land they were actually granted. Why did everyone really love Johnny Appleseed? Because the nasty apple trees he planted weren't good for eating but WERE good for turning into cider. How much did soldiers drink in the American Revolution and the Civil War? Triple what you thought, maybe more. How did booze play a part in President KEnnedy's assassination? His security detail had partied hard the night before and were too hungover to react quickly. My view of American history is forever altered. Booze has been present every step of our country's way and it is NEVER mentioned (unless it's about the prohibition). Cheever talks about how laws have changed as is how we define drunkenness. In the eighteenth century this little diddy helped define who was drunk: "Not drunk is he who from the floor, / Can rise again and still drink more, / But drunk is he who prostrate lies, / Without the power to drink or rise." I doubt that version of sobriety would pass today. In fact during the 1820's Americans were drinking TRIPLE what we consume today!! Crazy! Cheever doesn't condone drinking but she does a great job of illustrating the negative AND positive effects booze has had on our country. A fascinating book!