Thursday, December 22, 2016

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

So many aspects of the movies and other Batman comics I have read make much more sense now after reading this. The fact that this is 30 years old is astonishing, it still feels so fresh. The story is great, the asides told through television interviews and bulletins are genius, and the illustrations are out of this world. The comic picks up with the mutants causing more and more trouble in Gotham, Batman has been in retirement for a decade but feels he must put on his cape and save Gotham from itself. Understandably not everyone is happy to see him back and many are quick to lay Gotham's problems at Batman's feet. He has to battle evil, save face, and try to stay healthy and fit (which is hard because he's legit old now). Throw in the fact that Harvey Dent is let out (they fixed his face, no more two sided evil nature!) and there are rumors that the Joker is sane enough to do interviews on television, and that a young girl has started tagging along as Robin and you've got one hell of a great graphic novel. Solid from start to finish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Face on the Milk Carton

How have I lived my whole life without reading this? I assumed I had read this because I always saw it lying around. Wrong! It's a pretty quick read, I had this done in no time. It's set in the late 80s/early 90s and follows the story of young Janie Johnson as her life shatters before her eyes. One day at school she happens to notice that the young girl on the milk carton is her, her as a three year old. She tries convincing herself it isn't her but things keep adding up. She has no birth certificate, there are no photos of her before the age of 5, and she has the matching dress of the girl in the photo. When she confronts her parents things still don't add up. Who is the girl on the milk carton. A suspenseful teen read that leaves readers on the edge of their seats at the stunning conclusion (thankfully there are more books in the series).


Teens will eat this up. Four years after he was kidnapped, Ethan is discovered living an hour away and returned home. Dylan, a twelve year old autistic boy had been missing for a mere weekend and the efforts to find him were so great that they were able to find him, along with Ethan in the same dingy apartment. Struggling to come to terms being normal and being a teenager, Ethan is in over his head. Told through alternating perspectives; Ethan the recently returned fifteen year old, and Caroline, the seventeen year old sister of the kidnapped autistic boy, the story starts small and grows as they struggle to make sense of what happened. A wonderful story of resilience, trust, and the power of friendship.

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

Friday, December 16, 2016

Take the Body and Run

A solid attempt, but there is definitely room for improvement. There is too much going on, there could easily be two separate stories; as much as the author tries to merge to plots, it doesn't really pan out. The first week of Macey's new job there is two murders and she and her new friends (her co-workers and a cop that she becomes literally best friends with, within three days) decide that they will solve it themselves. Another side story is that Macey is hiding from her past and has assumed a new identity. It doesn't quite merge with the story and just randomly crops up. There are also a lot of characters and they all have crazy back stories. I don't think there was a single "normal" person in the entire story. Also, the cover. Who is on the cover? It certainly isn't our main character based off the author's description of her. So those are my beefs with it. But before you think I'm a negative nancy and hated the whole thing, there were some positive things that I enjoyed. One of the strong suits in this novel though is the witty dialogue. Snappy and fun, it's one of the best things going for "Take the Body and Run." The cat is a fun element. Granted cats are a little overplayed in mystery novels, but it works for this chick lit mystery. Overall, a light read that has room for improvement, but it will still find fans.

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

Human Acts

There is no way that this book will go under the radar when it's published in the U.S. next year. I'm calling it right now, this will be up for multiple book awards. Stunning from start to finish this book will captivate and horrify readers. Short stories are interconnected by a single event, the Gwangju Uprising in 1980 Korea, and the young boy who, Dong Ho, who was brutally murdered during it. Told from the perspectives of an editor, a mother, a fellow victim, and others; this heartbreaking story based on true events will keep readers entranced. Kang's lyrical pose, brutal imagery, and insight on human emotions make this a slam dunk hit. If I hadn't already made my top 5 books of the year, this would be on it. Everything this writer touches is gold, I can't wait for more!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

My True Love Gave to Me

I LOVED this short story collection! I just want to wrap up this book and give it to all my friends for Christmas. It's freaking adorable! The collection of authors who have stories in here is impressive, they're all kings and queens of the YA market. There is Holly Black, Rainbow Rowell, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Laini Taylor and several more. Each short story is holiday themed romance, but beyond that, they vary wildly! There is Hannakuh, New Years, Krampus Day; Kelly Link throws some fantasy in her London Christmas story, David Levithan throws ho ho homosexuals in (adorable and sad story, as always), Holly Black gets wild in "Krampuslauf," and there is much much more. I read this book in a span of one day, and I was not disappointed in a single story! I think my two favorites were by Holly Black and Stephanie Perkins. This is a must read for teens and adults this holiday season. You seriously won't be disappointed. Best holiday book I've read in a long time, perhaps... ever?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

I LOVED this comic! Loved, loved, loved. From the creative mind of the creator of "Afterlife with Archie" this dark reimagining of Sabrina in the sixties is fun and dark. Gory, sexy, and chilling this new spin on Sabrina the Teenage Witch will leave readers wanting more. Harvey, the aunts, Madam Satan, and her trusty familiar, Salem, are all part of the landscape, even some fun charcters, Betty and Veronica (from Archie) make appearance. A fun and unique read, I will definitely check out everything by this creator, he's unique and weird... just my style.

Monday, December 12, 2016

How to talk to Girls at Parties

I'm not sure what I think of this graphic novel but I think I like it. It's classic Neil Gaiman with weird twists, lyrical pose, and a plot that you never know where it will take you. Two teenage boys head to a party in South London to meet some girls. One is a cocky, confident, young man who can have any girl in the room, and the other is a shy, awkward boy who doesn't really know how to talk to girls. His friend ditches him at the party almost immediately so he tries his hand at talking to three different girls, each one odder than the next. He can't really understand what gibberish they're saying, but they sure are pretty to look at it. A quick read by a master of modern day fantasy and horror. Not bad, not great, but worth a read since it will be in theaters next year!


While it wasn't quite what I was expecting, I loved it nonetheless. It might be too dense or deep for the light reader but I personally found it fascinating. Author, Al Ridenour not only discusses the legend and customs of Krampus but spends a lot of time going into to other dark folkloric holiday traditions of Austria and Europe. It really helps put Krampus in perspective knowing his origins and the other dark beasties and witches that come with him. There are also tons of high quality photos of masks, folk customs, vintage drawings and more that enhance the author's message. a fascinating read around the holidays and a must for anyone who ever wanted to unearth some bizarre and different customs than our own!

Friday, December 9, 2016

Skipping Christmas

Thankfully this was a short book. While I enjoyed the end of the book (because it was finally over), I found at hated every character because they were flat two dimensional jerks with no personality. It's like John Grisham didn't even try! Basically this couple decides that they will skip Christmas this year because their 23 year old daughter will be in Peru for a year in the Peace Corps. They'll use all the money they would have spent on decorations, foods, and gifts on a luxury ten day cruise and forget about all the fuss and drama. Their neighbors, co-workers, and friends can hardly believe it. They won't dress up their yard? They won't get a tree or help out the boy scouts? No Christmas Eve bash? After a month of playing Scrooges something unexpected happens on Christmas Eve. You'll see the twist coming from a mile away. A totally blah, not great Christmas story.

The Case of the Silver Republicans

The fourth book in The Mule Tamer series won't disappoint. Fans will pick up right where they left off and newcomers won't have any problem getting into the swing of things, as the story does a great job of filling readers in on previous events without being too repetitive or overwhelming.

Arvel Walsh and his partner in crime, Dick Welles, may not have a job to report after long, the political climate is in turmoil and depending on who gets elected, the Arizona Rangers may be on the chopping block. Rather than worry about the election, Arvel and Dick have their hands full trying to find out who brutally cut up a local whore. Left to die, the Rangers vow to bring vengeance on her attacker. Little do they know that their bad boy is very well connected politically and his family will stop at nothing to make sure all loose ends are tied up; the Rangers being one of them. Arvel's feisty Mexican wife, Chica, vows that she will keep her family safe from any thugs and sends the Rangers to go track down the bad men. Little do they know it's only a diversion... Full of danger, excitement, and wild west tales, this western will keep readers intrigued. Another great installment full of unforgettable characters, notorious bad guys, and lots of fun. Not to be missed!

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

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Jerry on Jerry

An insightful and enjoyable listen for Deadheads and music fans alike. Dennis McNally combed through the Grateful Dead archives in California and found some truly enlightening and candid interviews from Jerry and compiled them into this fun audiobook. It was a great experience getting to hear Jerry in his own words talk about a variety of topics from Neal Cassidy to the Catholic Church to gay bars to LSD. A quick listen at only 4 discs, but a time well spent. Th audiobook also has an extra disc with a PDF of images and other items found in the printed book.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Bitter Pill to Swallow

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book and it didn't immediately grab me, but by page 20 or so I became hooked. Told through alternating perspectives, this story follows two young patients in a mental illness facility for youth, a promising med student, and the director of the facility. Each of their voices help flesh out this small contained world of confusion, pain, and hope. Devante is admitted after he tries to commit suicide for being unable to deal with the death of his close friend. Janina has been a resident for four years and is extra sensitive and hard on herself. Gail is unsure if she's in the right career, but she knows that she has to help people as a promise to her brother. Finally Dr. Lutkin has to find a way to keep his residents safe from big companies that threaten to take over his home and turn it into a hospital with unsavory methods. The perspectives are told in letters, thoughts, and journal entries, and really offer a fresh look at what it's like to have a mental illness; the stigma, fear, and confusion are hard to bear. A wonderful novel for teens and adults alike.

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

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Nickel and Dimed

I loved the concept of this book, I just hated how it was executed. The author/ "undercover agent" of this book kept throwing around how much money she had in real life and how comfortable her place in society was. She was also really judgemental and at times racist as shit. Once you look past the author's bias, the research and method was actually really fascinating and depressing. Barbara Ehrenreich lived in three different cities and worked menial jobs and searched for the cheapest rent she could find to see if she could make ends meet while posing as a low income worker. What she uncovered was worse than what many middle class people could ever imagine. Personally, I had never even considered how truly hard it is to make ends meet. Even if you're working hard it's impossible to get ahead with minimum wage or even a few dollars above. Millions of Americans are living below the poverty line and this struggle is a daily aspect of their life that they just accept because they know there is no other option available. A great read.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Proven Guilty

It's been a hot second since I picked up a book in this series and boy was I glad to get back in it! Harry Dresden never catches a break. Tasked with finding out about possible black magic brewing in Chicago, he gets side tracked by a bunch of movie monsters that attack a horror convention. To make matters more complicated, his good friend, Michael's, daughter is somehow involved. What's a poor wizard to do? Narrated brilliantly by James Marsters, this book kept me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed it immensely. On to book nine in the Dresden Files series!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Red-Blooded American Male

This coffee table collection of photographs is stunning, visually appealing, and hilariously awesome. Photographer Robert Trachtenberg does an amazing job of catching his male subjects (not all of whom are American like the title applies, for which he apologies numerously) in out of the ordinaary poses and manages to have fun and catch the ridiculousness of the everyday without poking fun at the subjects themselves. You'll find yourself giggling over the absurdity of Will Ferrel, Paul Rudd, JAmes van der Beek, and more. Many of the photographs are accompanied by an amusing story or tidbit about the actor in question. Another great thing is that not all the subjects are actors, there are some musicians, politicians, comedians, non-celebrities and more (as well as a few women). A great addition to any coffee table and a wonderful holiday gift for the comedian or photographer in your life.

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

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things

From the first page I was in love with this book. It was dark, unsettling, disturbing, endearing, and all around addicting. It's a fairy tale romanance but with a dark fucked up fairy tale and a forbidden (at times disturbing) romance. Wavy has never known normal, psychologically scarred from her drug addicted mother, she barely talks, barely eats, and is thought by most to be a weird mentally challenged little girl. Lurking behind her weird ways though is a fiercely smart girl and the only other one who really sees that besides her little brother is a big burly Native American biker who runs drugs for her dad. When Jesse Joe Kellen lays eyes on Wavy for the first time she's only eight, but over the years they find themselves growing in love with each other.  Their illicit romance is naive and innocent until one day it isn't. Told from alternating perspectives over a decade this book will keep readers on their toes. A must read!!!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Engineering Eden

Fascinating, disturbing, and enlightening, this raw epic look at the National Parks and regulating nature will leave readers enthralled. Covering a lot of ground, "Engineering Eden," covers a brief history of the creation of Yellowstone National Park, the fight over controlling nature, and a major trial involving the death of a young man mauled and eaten by a grizzly. Although it covers a lot of ground and introduces many key players this book doesn't feel too overwhelming and introduces readers to a complex history without being too overwhelming. Covering many gruesome bear attacks, the fight between being a guardian versus gardening national parks, controlled fires, the role of government, and public safety this book has enough to satisfy anyone: outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife lovers, and history buffs. A wonderful and enlightening read.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

David Bowie Retrospective and Coloring Book

Not only is this book visually appealing, it is cool as hell and fun to color. This year we lost a great but his memory is enshrined in this fun and interactive coloring book. Not only are there iconic pictures re-imagined as coloring pages but there is basic information as well as discographies, awards, and other tidbits about his life. I was beyond pleased to see two pages dedicated to his role in Jim Henson's classic, Labyrinth. His fashion is fun to color and thankfully this isn't a SUPER hard adult coloring book, I think it's fairly simplistic with a little bit of a challenge, you don't need a magnifying glass to get to any tiny lines. My only beef is that the binding makes it harder to hold open and color and that the pages aren't perforated for easy ripping out and displaying of your completed artwork. Other than that this coloring book is a slam dunk and a must buy for any David Bowie fan.

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

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

I don't know how I made it through life not having read this book. It had a profound impact on me, the lyrical prose, beauty, heartbreak, and cultural awareness that this book brings is beyond impressive. A collection of short stories about growing up on the Spokane reservation and dealing with alcohol, corrupt government agencies, tradition, love, basketball, culture, and more. Some stories make you laugh but many more make you depressed. It's a book that demands to be felt and is wonderful in getting people to understand at least a little bit of the struggle that Native Americans deal with on a daily basis. Alexie is a gifted storyteller and weaves his words to create dozens of poetic and moving stories that readers will think about long after they finish the book. I can't wait to watch the movie adaptation, Smoke Signals. I hope it does the book justice!


The thrilling conclusion to the Bloodmark trilogy is worth the wait and will leave readers' satisfied. Ashling has started to fulfill her prophecy and has become the Crimson Queen over all the packs. With the Bloodrealms behind her, her love for Grey even stronger, and the support of her pack she thinks that things might finally starting to go her way. . But she soon discovers that it isn't a cakewalk being queen, the problems and the tough decisions keep rolling in. Her guardian (and father like figure), Baran, has been captured by rogue and dangerous wolves who are intent on robbing Ashling of her power and position and will stop at nothing to undermine and destroy her. Fast paced and exciting this finale was hard to put down. I don't want to say too much more and spoil the ending, but trust me, it was great. This debut author knows how to suck readers in and will have a ready fan base of readers waiting for her next trilogy or stand alone.

Buy Bloodmark:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble  

Author's Bio:

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is just the latest in a string of acclaimed works. Her first official writing endeavor became The Bloodmark Saga, featuring a werewolf princess-turned-ruler who falls in love with a human boy. Her first novel in the Bloodmark Saga, Bloodmark, came out in 2013, followed by Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final book Bloodmoon in 2016.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


​5 winners will each get a Prize package that contains:

​- ​1 signed hardcover copy​ of Bloodmark (book 1)
​- Bloodmark Saga Temporary Tattoos (set of 3)  
​-​ Bloodmark Saga Bookmark​

Open to USA only. Ends Dec 17

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Heroin, and Heavyweights

Admittedly I knew next to nothing about Sonny Liston before I read this book. I'm not much of a sports guru, although I do love boxing movies. All I knew about Sonny Liston was that he was the fallen boxer in the famous photo with Muhammad Ali towering over him. That's it. While this book doesn't go into too much detail about Sonny's early life or early career, it does mention some key facts and picks up the story towards the end of Sonny's life and career. This book doesn't paint a pretty picture of anyone but it is a fascinating look at corruption, the mob, heroin, and Las Vegas. The author meticulously puts together all the possible events, people, and circumstances that point to the famous boxer being murdered, even though there was never a homicide investigation. The plot thickens when you realize that virtually no one was straight, not even his wife. While there is no concrete conclusion at the end, readers will draw their own conclusions and in the process learn a great deal about boxing, fight fixing, draft dodgers, heroin, dirty cops, and Las Vegas. Thoroughly engaging, I wish there had been more pictures, but hey, what is a little outside research on my own.


The second installment in the hot new young adult paranormal romance trilogy brings added thrills, more intrigue, and of course lots and lots of forbidden romance. Since Ashling's eighteenth birthday is approaching, the countdown has begun on her being claimed by a mate and fulfilling her prophecy. Four suitors have come forward to pledge themselves to her, but she only has eyes for one, Grey. If anyone learns of their secret romance they are doomed and Grey could be put to death, so he must learn to control himself around her and act the part. Ashling's father has the four suitors fight in the Bloodrealms to prove themselves worthy, and the winner will have the honor of having Ashling as a mate. Just when Ashling and Grey think things can't get any worse or complicated, they find themselves trapped in the Bloodrealms and in the depths there are horrors they could never have imagined. They will have to use all their cunning to escape, especially since an old nemeses is also on the hunt for her. This teen couple can't cut a break. Why couldn't being a seventeen year old teenage girl be fun? Instead Ashling must fight for her life, her destiny, and her love. A satisfying follow up that will leave readers wanting to read the final book in the trilogy.

Buy Bloodmark:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble  

Author's Bio:

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is just the latest in a string of acclaimed works. Her first official writing endeavor became The Bloodmark Saga, featuring a werewolf princess-turned-ruler who falls in love with a human boy. Her first novel in the Bloodmark Saga, Bloodmark, came out in 2013, followed by Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final book Bloodmoon in 2016.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


​5 winners will each get a Prize package that contains:

​- ​1 signed hardcover copy​ of Bloodmark (book 1)
​- Bloodmark Saga Temporary Tattoos (set of 3)  
​-​ Bloodmark Saga Bookmark​

Open to USA only. Ends Dec 17

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Someday, Someday, Maybe

I definitely think that listening to the audiobook is the way to go on this because not only does Lauren Graham read her story but she breathes life into that may not have been found when physically reading the novel. Set in 1995, Someday, Someday, Maybe, tells the story of a twenty something single white female trying to become an actress in New York City. Faced with her own self imposed deadline, Franny has only six months left to get herself a real acting or theater job. Juggling acting class, work at the comedy club, and romantic feelings towards a fellow actor, Franny keeps the readers hilariously entertained with her clutzy, naive antics, and charming wit. Laugh out loud funny, cringingly embarrassing, and completely eye opening, this novel is a must read for any Gilmore Girl's fan or anyone interested in making it as an actress. My only real complaint is that the book ended a little too abruptly for my taste.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Bloodmark Review and Giveaway

The first in a thrilling new teen paranormal romance trilogy, Bloodmark will resonate with fans of Twilight and werewolf romance. Combined with medieval lore and modern day high school drama, Bloodmark tells the story of a sixteen year old werewolf princess cast aside by her family and sent to live in America. Different from birth, Ashling was able to shapeshift as an infant, something no other werewolf could do without hitting puberty first. Always sheltered and hidden with her mom, Ashling had no idea how special and different she was until she started to be hunted by a menacing renegade werewolf. She learns that she is the answer to a centuries old prophecy and that she must be hidden far away to protect the werewolf clans. Sent to live with a werewolf posing as her uncle she must learn to live like an American teenager and drop all of her wolf-isms and wild Irish ways. She manages to catch on pretty quickly and immediately catches the eye of a hot young, motorcycle rebel named Grey. Even though he's human she finds herself inexplicably falling for him. What follows next is a hot and heavy romance (but not too hot!), and more danger as Ashling realizes that her nemesis has followed her to America. Will she be able to protect her new lover and her friends? What is her destiny? Can she combine the ways of Old Mother with her new teenage American identity and triumph? A wonderful introduction to a new trilogy that will leave readers wanting more. There is enough, lore, fantasy, romance, and teenage drama to make this a sure fire hit. Check out the next two in the series: Bloodrealms and Bloodmoon to see how Ashling and her lover fare.

Buy Bloodmark:  Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble  

Author's Bio:

Aurora Whittet started out as a wild red-haired girl in Minnesota dreaming up stories for her friends to read. Mama’s Knight: A Cancer Story of Love is just the latest in a string of acclaimed works. Her first official writing endeavor became The Bloodmark Saga, featuring a werewolf princess-turned-ruler who falls in love with a human boy. Her first novel in the Bloodmark Saga, Bloodmark, came out in 2013, followed by Bloodrealms in 2014 and the final book Bloodmoon in 2016.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram


​5 winners will each get a Prize package that contains:

​- ​1 signed hardcover copy​ of Bloodmark (book 1)
​- Bloodmark Saga Temporary Tattoos (set of 3)  
​-​ Bloodmark Saga Bookmark​

Open to USA only. Ends Dec 17

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Heroes or Thieves

A slam dunk follow up the first in the series, Kings or Pawns. World building isn't easy, but author J.J. Sherwood, makes it look like a piece of cake. She seemlessly picks up where the last book left off and we continue to follow our favorite (and least favorite) characters on the next steps of their journeys. Jikun and Navon have crossed the sea and are looking for a way to gather troops and somehow attack the tyrant ruler Saebellus again, Alvena is trying to put as much distance between herself and the city before the queen finds her and murders her, Sellamar is trying to assist the resistance while playing politics with the bad boys, and we get to see a whole new side of "the beast." New characters are introduced, some old characters die, and political intrigue, adventure, heroics, and fantasy reign supreme in this stellar follow up. A fantastic series that fantasy fans will eat up. Definitely an emerging author to watch for; the story line and plot are intricate and tightly woven, no plot holes, weak characters, or bad writing. A fast and entertaining read!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Walking Dead Book Thirteen

After the brutal conclusion to book twelve I was wondering where this series was headed. Alexandria wants revenge on the whisperers for taking out twelve of their people but Rick wants to formulate a plan which makes everyone hate him and call him a coward. Meanwhile, Neegan escapes, Eugene starts talking to some mysterious person through the radio, and Carl is getting down with Lydia. The conclusion was seriously badass and I didn't see it coming. I love this series and I already can't wait until book fourteen is released!!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Big Fish

I grew up loving the Tim Burton movie so I was fairly certain that I was going to enjoy the original novel edition as well and I was disappointed. It had been years since I have seen the movie, but reading this definitely helped a lot of it come back (although a re-watch is definitely happening!). The story follows a son as he tries to piece together his father's life. Having grown up on nothing but tall fantastical tales about his father, Edward Bloom's life, he is unsure what to make of him. Who is his father really? Now that his father is on his death bed he wants to know the truth. The story is told in short little stories, each more fantastical than the next. From a swamp witch, to battling a feral dog, to tricking a giant; each story shows the  essence and character of a man. A wonderful, innovative, and fast read with a wonderful movie companion.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Survivor: The Escape

A memoir about overcoming the curve-balls life sends you, no matter how many come at you and no matter how hard they hit. Ditto writes of her experiences being abused as a child, teenager, adult, wife, and mother. Every step of the way she has had to face men and women bullying, beating, and lying to her but she has learned how to stand up to them. While she may not be a perfect Christian, having four kids out of wedlock, Ditto tries to tell her story as an imperfect Christian, calling on readers to accept God's plan, love, and forgiveness. This autobiography is written not as a journal but as a flashback with many added retrospective comments and concerns as she looks back upon the mistakes of her youth. Although the book is in dire need of an editor or proof-reader, the reader is able to look past the myriad of typos, odd phrases, and spelling choices to understand the message of this short biography. The author lives somewhere in Europe or Africa, it's never quite made clear, so a lot of the domestic abuse scenarios seem even worse than we are used to hearing about in America because the authorities treat it vastly different where the author is from. An inspiring ramble through the author's traumatizing youth and early adulthood.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I Am the Ocean

Where is there left to go when you've spent your life running away? Faced with no job prospects and no plans looming on the horizon, Samita Sarkar decides to spend her savings investing on herself; namely, on travel experiences. Having spent her whole life doing what was expected of her, Samita decided to fill her empty journal pages with unique life changing moments of her own choosing. Leaving behind the familiarity of Canada she decides to go down the east coast and see the American sights. Living on a shoe string budget she chronicles her experiences meeting strangers, couch surfing, and seeing the sights. Armed with only a handful of clothes, her blank journal, and a worn out copy of "The Bhagavad Gita," Samita discovers the joys of writing one's own path. This memoir reads as a giant journal entry with lots of retrospective comments added in for good measure. There are also lots of great quotations from "The Bhagavad Gita" that correlate to her experiences on the road. Samita's journey is an aspiring look at what you can do if you let go and write your own story; even on the most meager budget it can be a fruitful life changing experience.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

How to Talk to Your Cat About Gun Safety

This hilarious gem is the perfect gift for your cat loving friends. This humorous little book contains chapters and talking points on the following issues plaguing cats all over America: gun safety, evolution, abstinence, online safety, drugs, puberty, post-apocalyptic survival, and satanism. To get a little sample of the hilarity contained in these pages read this excerpt to get an idea of what's in store:

"To some extent marijuana, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, meth, and LSD all get abused by cats, but the consumption of these pales in comparison to the scourge currently devastates the lives of so many of our feline friends: catnip. According to current research, only a small number of cats have or will experiment with the first six drugs on our list, However, virtually every cat in America has, does, or will use catnip during their lifetime."

Contains cute photos and "solid advice" for cat owners to follow. A perfect Christmas gift not just for your friend bu for the well being of their precious fur babies. Clocking in at only a little over 100 pages, this quick read is perfect for the holidays.

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

Valley of the Kings

A sweeping historical drama set in 14th century Egypt, this tale of kings, political plotting, romance, betrayal, and war is sure to find a wide variety of readers. Nerfetiti, Tutankhamen, and Ty are just a few of the major players in this fictional rendering of one of the greatest periods in history. Inspired by real life letters from the Hittites and Amarnas, award winning author, Terrance Coffey lends credence and authenticity to his fascinating look at royal lineage. When Prince Amenhotep succeeds the throne as a small child after his father and older brother's untimely deaths he is determined not to be undermined and to stay in control. To do so he outlaws worship of all other gods save one, Aten the sun god, and builds a new, hopefully less corrupt, capital city. Leaving Thebes behind doesn't solve any problems though; he is just an ostrich with its head in the sand and his controversial banning of gods has angered many. Told through multiple perspectives this story spans a few decades and will keep readers intrigued with tales of passion, lies, secrets, and intrigue. Filled with fascinating detail on cultures, clothes, custom, and religion, this is a great book for anyone looking to learn more about ancient Egypt. A wonderful book, honestly the great historical fiction I've ever read on ancient Egypt!

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Wonder

Donoghue, Emma. The Wonder. 10 CDs. unabridged. 13 hrs. Hachette Audio. ISBN 9781478911753. $30. 

Donoghue (bestselling author of Room), weaves a magnificent and haunting tale of a young Irish Catholic girl fasting herself to death and a nurse determined to save her. Eleven year old Anna O'Donnell is purported to have eaten nothing for months; Lib Wright an English nurse, is sent over to a small Irish village to see if the rumors are true and the girl is truly subsisting on nothing. Refusing to believe, Lib is determined to end the hoax within days but she finds herself inexplicably drawn to the "living wonder." Putting her skepticism aside Lib is determined to help the girl, regardless if she is a fraud or not. There is something ominous about a young girl determined to waste away and Lib is convinced that something is amiss. This thriller starts off with a slow burn but quickly picks up speed as the relationship between Lib and Anna deepens and it becomes apparent that not everything is as it seems. The story comes alive with an impeccable narration by Kate Lock, who expertly narrates both English and Irish accents to such an extent that it's easy to get lost in the story. Another great read from a seasoned author, an absolute must listen!  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

The Girls

A fascinating read that transports the reader back to 1969. Very reminiscent of the Manson murders this book shows how one young girl's naivety and thirst for adventure leads to her becoming involved in a cult. Russell is an enigmatic man and the women and children in his midst look up to him with something like hero worship. Showing a disdain for worldly goods and money the group travels around in a black school bus and dumpster dives for food and supplies. Fourteen year old Evie happens upon the group by chance and becomes smitten with the girls carefree and easy lifestyle. The ranch where Russell and his groupies stay isn't far from her house so she stays there most of the summer and gets caught up in free love, drugs, and communal living. Quickly emboldened by this new radical lifestyle, Evie has a hard time discerning right and wrong, how far is she willing to go down the road to violence? Looking back on her experience as a hardened adult she is able to see how the summer when she was fourteen shaped her into the women she became. A fascinating read.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


An enlightening look at the sex lives of Iranian women told in a graphic novel format. Marjane Satrapi, author of the bestselling graphic novel Persepolis, writes and illustrates her first graphic novel for adults and it is as intriguing as promised. Embroideries is told through Marjane's grandmother, neighbors, aunts, mother, and friends as they drink tea and set their sights on gossiping as soon as the men leave the room. Stories of heartbreak, laughter, injustice, and hopes are shared in this quick read. Secrets are discussed, lurid tales laughed at, and marriages analyzed. A quick wonderful read from a fantastic author.

A Proper Drink

An intriguing look at how a band of bartenders revived the cocktail movement and saved the civilized drinking world in the process. Robert Simonson painstakingly pieces together the top bartenders from around the world and tells how a drink here and a vintage cocktail book there helped bring about a cocktail revival that most of us take for granted. Without the ingenuity and determination of some bartenders to re-make some classic cocktails found in dusty old manuals and the willpower to track down obscure ingredients we wouldn't have the options that we currently enjoy. They brought back the classics, the sidecar, the ramos gin fizz, and in the process created new classics like the cosmopolitan and the appletini. A very comprehensive look at individual bartenders, and influential cocktail bars this book can get a little bogged down at times but is overall enlightening and will make you appreciate your drinks more. Also included are cocktail recipes at the end of every chapter.

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

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Amityville Horror

A ridiculously quick read, this non-fiction horror story outlines the 28 days of hell that the Lutz family endured in their Amityville house. Reconstructed over hours of audio interviews the author creates a compelling timeline of the strange, seemingly demonic events that took place at their house. Creepy, but not altogether nightmare inducing, this book is a good companion for the subsequent movie adaptations. Honestly I prefer the movies better because they embrace their fictitiousness and are, in my opinion, quite a bit spookier. Obviously, I doubt much of the story is true, but who doesn't love a good scary story involving a gruesome murder, a haunted house, and a large red eyed talking pig named Jodie? If nothing else it helped me get more in the mood for Halloween.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


Mix Redwall, Animal Farm, and The Fifth Wave together and you have some sense of what is going on in this action packed science fiction thriller. Giant ants have erupted from the surface of the earth and have started massacring every human in sight, to get the job done more effectively they release a substance that transforms all animals into walking, talking, thinking creatures to help eradicate all the humans. Sebastian was a content house cat but when he woke up with thoughts and plans he shed his old identity and became Mort(e) a former choker (pet) and current military bad-ass renowned for his feats of bravery and fearlessness. All he really wants to do is find Sheba, his neighbor who happened to be a dog, but Mort(e) remains content tracking humans and killing them while looking for his friend on the side. Years pass and the war rages on, the humans are wily creatures all Mort(e) wants to do is curl up with his missing friend but instead he must battle on and be disillusioned with what the Queen ant has in store for everyone. A compelling unique sci-fi that is the beginning of a trilogy.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Monster Calls

Oh. My. Gosh. Words cannot describe how thoroughly I enjoyed the book. Even the second time around. It was creepily poetic and the illustrations were amazing. They really helped make the entire story. I started to read a chapter last night, and the next thing I know, BAM covers closed I finished the whole damn thing. It was that good!

The story follows Conor, a 13 year old boy living in England trying to deal with his mom's increasingly worse cancer symptoms and the nightmares it inspires. One night however, he realizes that he really is being visited by a monster. The monster (beautifully illustrated in the book, I might add) doesn't necessarily want to hurt Conor, but does he want to help him either?

Please, please give this book a chance. Definitely, one of the best books I've read this year!!

Sex Criminals: Volume Three

Decidedly my least favorite of the three volumes, this collection focuses on Jon and Suzie essentially declaring war on the sex police. Determined to take down these cops once and for all they decide to track down other people with magical sex powers to persuade them to team up with them. This doesn't quite go to plan though and they find themselves with a couple more enemies, including a really bizarre sex monster with vaginticles. Amusing, although I could have done without the authors inserting themselves randomly into the story (kinda messed with the flow of the story). I'm looking forward to the next installment.

Sex Criminals: Volume Two

A little (okay a lot) depressing compared to the light heartedness of the first volume but still a great read. In this collection, Jon is dealing with shit, literally, he's depressed and not dealing with life really well. He and Suzie are out of their honeymoon stage and he's struggling with his feelings towards sex and his future with Suzie. He starts seeing a shrink to sort through all the shit and Suzie is trying to get the library saved. They don't have the luxury of dealing with their own personal problems though because the sex police are still out there and they're keeping an eye on these two. A satisfying, albeit dark, follow up.

Friday, September 30, 2016

The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo

I don't know why I didn't expect to love this but I'm sure glad I was wrong. This book was awesome! I pretty much only know Amy Schumer from Trainwreck, I've never watched her show or her stand-ups so I didn't have any pre-conceived notions about her really. Which was kind of nice, it made her really down to earth even though she's clearly quite famous. In the same vein as Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, or Amy Poehler, this book virtually convinces the reader that you should be best friends with Amy, she's so relatable, funny, and real. Gah, I sound like such a fangirl. But really, I went from virtually no opinion on Amy to number one fan (except for my friend Moffett, no one can top that kind of crazy!). This book isn't a memoir it's more of a mishmash of stories, lists, photos, opinions, and comedy. It's got a little something for everyone. It can be downright hilarious hearing about her hook ups and shenanigans and then it can take a completely serious turn as she discusses her dad's MS or the shooting at one of her movie screenings. I loved all of it and I look forward to reading more of her stuff in the future.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

All Is Not Forgotten

If I could have given this a 4.5 star rating I would have. It was soo close to being a 5 star, it truly was! The suspense and writing style had me hooked at the very get go and I powered through determined to find out the ending. A teenage girl is brutally raped and as a result of drinking and repressive therapy she remembers none of the attack. She knows she was assaulted but she can't remember any specific details which everyone seems to think will help her out in the long term. Unfortunately, it has the opposite affect and she just wishes she could remember it so her brain would stop trying so hard to put the pieces together. Told through the perspective of her therapist, this harrowing story is his piecing together what happened to her and his dark role in uncovering and possibly altering the truth. Wonderful. Loved it, wished their was more to the ending. It came to fast, I needed more!!!

A Morbid Taste for Bones

The first book in the compelling Brother Cadfael series, this medieval murder mystery is sure to attract a wide variety of readers. Filled with monastic customs, medieval life, murder, and intrigue this mystery is a great introduction to the rest of the books in the series. Even though this one isn't my favorite (it takes place away from their monastery) it's still damn good and that speaks volumes about this series. Narrated brilliantly by Derek Jacobi who plays Brother Cadfael in the TV show, the audiobook is well worth a listen. I can't wait to work my way though this series!