Friday, January 29, 2016

All the Light We Cannot See

Very rarely does the hype actually live up to itself, but boy did it ever in this tour de force, Pulitizer award winning novel! I wasn't instantly attracted to the dreary cover or even the description, but after enough people goaded me, I finally bit the bullet and read the damn thing. Stars and stones, it was one hell of a read. I was soo enamored that I read this bad boy in less than 24 hours, I couldn't put it down. The lyrical quality of the words kept pulling me back and I was desperate to know how it would all come together. The story follows a young blind, Parisian, Marie-Laure and a young radio-obsessed German, albino, Werner, on the onset of World War II. Throw in a priceless diamond, a missing father, and mysterious science lessons broadcasted over the air and you have yourself one interesting story. Marie-Laure and Werner's lives couldn't be more different but these two kind-hearted souls find themselves drawing closer as the war binds everything together under its dark cloak. It isn't a love story, it's a story of discovery, understanding, and self-awareness. Altogether worthy of all the praise showered on it. An excellent read that will stay with you long after you've closed the last page.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

It Ended Badly

I freaking LOVED this book. I loved it soo much that I actually plan on buying it, which from me is HIGH PRAISE! This book was just what I needed to prepare myself for being single on Valentine's Day again. This book was laugh out loud funny and should be required reading for fans of history, romance, and literature. Author, Jennifer Wright, finds the thirteen worst breakups in history to make you feel better about your love life. From ancient Rome to the 1050's Jennifer has got you covered. Her tone is very conversational, enlightening, and freaking hilarious. I want the author to come over to my house to drink boxed wine and watch BBC shows. She's just that kind of gal, she brings witty humor to some truly awful stories and has a little something for everyone. If you have ever started snickering at happy couples on the street, read about Anna Ivanovna from Russia. If you have just sent your ex a very intense emotional e-mail, read about Caroline Lamb and Lord Byron. If you deserve an apology, read about Norman Mailor and Adele Morales Mailer. Seriously, this book was over the top informative and off the charts funny. From sex dolls, to dressing subjects as chickens and eggs, to stabbing your wife, to claim your a virgin while seven months pregnant, this book tells it all and you need to read it. So far my favorite book of 2016.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

"Love" excerpted from Constructed of Magic

Luis Alan Swartz has released an ebook just in time for Valentine's Day, it contains excerpts of poetry from his collection, "Constructed of Magic." The poems are are beautiful and timely and the visions of love they invoke make it a perfect read to get your heart in the right place for this upcoming romantic holiday. Coming in at under twenty pages, this ebook is a quick read that will leave the reader feeling happy and wistful for young (or old) love in no time at all. It also makes for an excellent gift for a loved one. To order his book and experience more of his wonderful poetry please click on this link. Below is a sample of one of the poems included in this ebook collection.

     It is being able to utterly astound each other after all these years
with an observation, a perception, or something marvelous said.

     It is the enduring excitement of life shared despite the corporeal
realities of aging human bodies.

     It is the wonder daily experienced together, the spiritual vision
growing keener regardless of the failings of physical perception.


This is my THIRD time reading this book and I still couldn't put it down. This young adult novel is so intense and gripping because it's totally plausible. This could absolutely happen. Yellowstone is due to erupt anytime. Mike Mullin enters the young adult dystopian/apocalyptic genre with originality and managed to create one of the most realistic and haunting trilogies of them all.

Fifteen year old Alex is scared, bleeding to death, and lost when he winds up in Darla's barn. He's been journeying through ash and violent weather for days trying to make his way to Illinois where his family is. Ever since the volcano erupted and the world changed it's each man for himself. Alex has to find food and water, learn to trek through the deep ash without breathing it in, and defend himself from dangerous starving people. Will Darla be able to accompany him on this hellish journey? Can they make it?

For fans of the Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent. I will admit, this book is a great "how to" for whenever Yellowstone does erupt. It's full of practical advice and survival skills. Mullin really did his research! The other two books in the trilogy are just as good!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Utterly engrossing, this groundbreaking look at poverty and the fight to find housing in America's cities will forever change how people view homelessness and the oft told saying, "Just work harder." Harvard sociologist Matthew Desmond spent years living in the slum of Milwaukee to understand how deep the problem went and to experience first hand how the nation's poorest are living. Desmond discovered that poorest people were/are spending more than EIGHTY PERCENT of their income trying to find housing, and what they get isn't even substandard. In big cities like Milwaukee, Landlords know there is little to no incentive to clean places up when they can just evict a tenant for complaining and find someone else who is desperate enough to live in squalor. Eye opening and horrifying, Evicted follows six different people, poor black mothers in the ghetto to white trash junkies in trailer parks as they tackle the housing crisis dead on. No matter how hard to struggle to get ahead, the system is rigged against certain demographics, the main being African American women. The amount of research put into this is staggering, as are the implications. Desmond ends with suggestions on how we as a country can come together and end this crisis. After all, doesn't everyone have a right to a roof over their heads?! A must read social justice piece that sheds poverty in a new light.

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

Monday, January 25, 2016

Dead Beat

Seven books into the series and I have no intention of stopping. The Dresden Files never ceases to amaze me with its complex and intriguing plotlines, badass characters, and truly horrifying bad guys.  It doesn't get any better than this. Harry Dresden highlights different "sidekicks" in all of his adventures, and in Dead Beat his trusty dog, Mouse, and his cowardly coroner friend, Butters, are his main pals. Although to be fair, his newly discovered brother, Thomas, helps out when he cans. Harry's old nemesis, Mauvra the evil vampiress, has tasked him with finding the Word of Kemler otherwise she will turn over his best friend, Karen Murphy, to the police with some incriminating photos. Of course, things aren't that "simple." Harry quickly learns that a bunch of necromancers are in town looking for the same item and to top it all off it's almost Halloween. Things are going to get a whole lot more worse before they get better, but good ol' Harry will muddle his way through it and use his sense of humor as his greatest weapon (not!). Always a good read and impeccably narrated by James Marsters! The best urban fantasy series in town. Not just for boys!

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Worthy Heart

Maggie Montgomery and her brother Gabe are thrilled to finally visit New York, with Ireland on the brink of civil war and Maggie wanting to escape a broken engagement there is no better time to visit their older brother in America. Rylan and his new wife run an orphanage and Maggie and Gabe plan on not only visiting but helping out where needed, little do they know that Maggie is wanting her stay to be more.. permanent. She immediately sets off looking for employment but she quickly runs into trouble, her ex-fiance. As if her heart wasn't already battered enough, the nice man she met at her sister-in-law's house turns out to be a convict. Will she never find anyone suitable? Or is there more than meets the eye? Despite everyone's warnings she and the felon, Adam, (also her sister-in-law's brother) start to become friends. Just when they think they might be able to make things work, a horrible bout of typhoid wreaks havoc on the orphanage. Will God be able to see them through? Will Gabe and his new love interest be able to weather the storm? Set in pre-world war I New York this Christian romance will have reader's asking for me. It is the second in an installment, but I was able to read it just fine without having read the first one first.

For fans of inspirational and historical romance.

I received this book for free from Bethany House Bloggers in return for my honest, unbiased opinion.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

My Life on the Road

Very few books have the power to awaken you, or make you think about aspects of your life differently but that is exactly what this book did for me. It was an honest to goodness eye opener. Before reading this I am ashamed to admit that all I knew about Gloria Steinem was that she was an outspoken feminist, I had just never paid attention. I had also never paid all that much attention to feminism; I agree that women should be equal but I never stopped to consider in all the ways that we still inequal. I'm a travesty, I have a graduate degree and I just never stopped to consider how my gender is treated.  I mean, I knew it was lopsided but had I ever spoken out against it or taken action? Never. Reading this memoir of Gloria Steinem's travels, encounters, and feminist beliefs really made me aware of how little I've done. This book has definitely motivated to read more of her books, research more, and take action! Steinem talks a lot about organizing and uniting women, it's really motivational. I also got teary eyed when she described her friendships with different Native American women and the hardships they've had to overcome and still have to overcome. It was very moving and very well written. Thank goodness I'm a Harry Potter fanatic. Had it not been for Emma Watson's feminist book club I can honestly say I never would have picked up this book!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

I was surprised at how quickly I flew through this book. I think I was expecting it to be as heavy as Infinite Jest, but at a slim 300 pages this book a nice fast read. I had seen the movie, The End of The Tour, last year and loved it. Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself is the transcript turned book that the movie is based off of. Former Rolling Stones journalist, David Lipsky, got to spend five days with author, David Foster Wallace at the end of his Infinite Jest book tour and he recorded hours of conversation and comments. This book is a transcript of all their various musings. Anything from dogs, to Last of the Mohicans, to the writing process, and suicide was covered and it touches on a little bit of everything and is fascinating to read. Wallace speaks as eloquently as he writes and was clearly a literary genius. This book just makes his loss even more profound. An interesting peak into the mind of a literary genius. A must read for fans of David Foster Wallace.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Captive Review and DVD Giveaway!

Based on the powerful memoir, this inspirational movie tells the true story of how a young mother was helped captive by an escaped convict and how she turned to Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life" for guidance and hope. Her faith and her determination led her to escape not only her captor but her addiction to meth. Ashley Smith was an addict, her husband was dead, her child taken away, and she thought her life couldn't get any worse. She had no idea how to turn her life around, then one night a murderous felon held her captive in her own apartment and with the help of "The Purpose Driven Life" they each decide to stop running. Brian Nichols decided to stop running from the law and Ashley Smith stopped running from her denial and decided to face her addiction head on. The movie follows the book fairly closely but doesn't emphasize the religious aspect as much. It's still powerful, although with a PG-13 rating, this inspirational true story won't reach as wide of an audience as many other religious movies do.

What's that, you want to watch this movie? Well how would you like to win a free copy? All you have to do is comment below with your name and I will randomly select a winner next Friday.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


I love this book soo much I wish I could eat it up. Literally. Where was this book when I was a fat socially awkward teenager? As an adult, I related to this book, I can only imagine how much I would have related to this book as a teenager. Willowdean is fat. Not that fat is a bad thing, she just knows what she is and there is no hiding from it. She's confident and loud and she has her best friend Ellen by her side. She is unstoppable. That is until boys get into the mix. Suddenly she becomes self conscious. And it's not like her best friend will understand, she's skinny and perfect, she doesn't have rolls. To honor her recently deceased aunt (another self-professed fat girl) and to prove her peers that fat doesn't have to be ugly she enters the annual Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant and inspires some other "ugly" girls to try out as well. They're going to start a revolution on beauty standards and self-confidence!  Willowdean's mother is horrified, she runs the competition and is convinced that her fat daughter is entering as a joke. Her best friend Ellen sticks by her side until Willowdean tells her that she doesn't want her to enter the pageant because she's already beautiful. A huge rift occurs, what's a fat girl to do? Inspiring, laugh out loud funny. A must read for anyone who has ever dealt less than perfect in their own skin.

A Plum Job

An aspiring actress, a Nazi who despises the German regime of bigotry and hatred; countries apart these two vastly different individuals have no idea that their paths will one day cross. Louise Wellesley  wants nothing more than to grace the stage, but first she must convince her father that in modern day 1938 women can go to college and act. Little does she know that once she wins over her father, many powerful men will notice her talent and she will be offered a surprising, nay plum job. Over in Germany, Max Hartmann finds himself in the clutches of the Nazi regime, it's either join or die, so Max joins but he doesn't relish the job like his cousin Kurt does. Even though they fight on the same side, the cousins are fighting different demons. Kurt wants to be the best, wants Hitler's personal commendation, whereas Max is trying to do as little damage as possible. Once war breaks Louise, Max, and Kurt find themselves in the magical city of Paris and the circumstances could not be more dire. For fans of historical fiction, theater, and thrillers.

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Prison Island

A cute, eye opening graphic novel about what it was like growing up on a prison island. Nothing profound or amazing, but it's a quick informative read that teens and adults will both enjoy. Plus, it's a little snapshot of history, it's a mini-memoir about a time past, and quite recent as well. While it is told through the perspective of a girl, boys would still enjoy it too. There are also several funny moments that made me smiles. The prison island was just closed in 2011. For fans of graphic novel memoirs, and prison history.

The Lion Comic Hero Bible

Artists, Siku and Jeff Anderson add their take on the Bible by recreating some of the action stories in comic format. Bold and arresting, this Comic Book Hero Bible will be good for young boys or kids obsessed with comics. It would also be a good way to involve kids that may struggle with reading. Specially edited and formatted, this Bible contains stories from both the New and the Old Testaments and really brings to life the epic struggles and adventures. Included in the back are Bible references so anyone that finds themselves particularly enamored with a section or story can find out where to locate it in the Bible. As an adult librarian I definitely see the value of having the Bible in a different format. The only thing I didn't really care for was that they renamed some of the characters to give them a more "hero" theme. Abraham is renamed "Faithman" and Satan is dubbed "The Accuser." Beyond that I find this book enjoyable and I'm certain many kids and teens will to. 

I received this book for free from Kregel Blog Tours in return for my honest, unbiased review. 

Pretty Girls

Wow, this is one kept me on my toes. I literally had no idea how it was going to end and it kept me breathless with anticipation. Since I'm super impatient, I lost a lot of sleep and got this bad boy read in less than one day. Totally worth it. Even though Karin Slaughter is a huge New York Times bestselling author, I had never read anything of hers before, after reading Pretty Girls, I will certainly be reading more of her work! This psychological thriller will haunt you, it's definitely not for the faint of heart, it's gritty, disturbing, and unsettling. Claire and Lydia's older sister went missing in the early 90's and they never truly got over it. Their father committed suicide, Claire married the first man that showed her any real attention and Lydia got into hard drugs. Fast forward nearly twenty years later, Claire's husband  has just died and she finds some unsettling things in his possession. New truths come to light and the sisters realize that nothing is what it seems. As if the loss of their sister was bad enough they realize there is something more sinister lurking, just below the surface.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Big Little Lies

I wish I could marry this book I love it so much. That is not an understatement either. This book was awesome. The cover art was awesome. The characters were awesome. The storyline was awesome. Everything is awesome (to quote the Lego movie)!!! I really enjoyed "The Husband's Secret," by Liane Moriarity so I was hoping I would like this one as well. Not to worry, I definitely LIKE this one a billion times better. Sooo good!!

There has been a tragic death at the school trivia night. Was it murder?Who knows what? The months leading up to the tragedy are viewed through the eyes of three kindergarten mothers; Jane, a single mother of an apparent "bully," Madeleine, an eccentric mother of three with too much to juggle, and gorgeous Celeste, wealthy mother to twins. Alternating with their version of events are snippets of the police reports and gossip of other kindergarten parents. The funny, intriguing, and horrifying view of events enhance the foreshadowing as you desperately try to figure out what is going on.

Thoroughly engrossing. This book made me briefly want to have kids so I could be as crazy and ridiculous as these mothers. A must read!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl

I'll admit, I know of Carrie Brownstein only through Portlandia (I've watched a whole two episodes!) and have heard maybe one Sleater-Kinney song. I'm a travesty. The hype on this book was too good to pass and the audiobook is narrated by the author so I decided to give it a try. I was not disappointed. It was one of the most raw, unapologetic, and brutally honest memoirs I've ever listened to. Besides being a a great artist (I've since listened to her music, better late than never!) Carrie Brownstein is a veritable wordsmith. Her book almost reads as poetry. A must read for music fans and those that love a powerful biographies.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

I'll Give You the Sun

Now I can see what all the hype is about! This book was worth all the praise and then some. The prose is beautiful, the characters full of depth, beauty, and broken pieces. I just finished reading it this morning but I already want to re-read it. Jude and Noah are twins but they couldn't be more different. Jude is a gorgeous, laid back, surfer girl and her brother Noah is an introverted artist who lacks friends. Although they have their differences they operate as one, that is until an unspeakable tragedy breaks them apart. Filled with a plethora of issues: discovering ones sexual identity, dealing with the loss of a loved one, first love, acceptance, addiction, and the process of creating and seeing art. It's a beautiful novel, told from the perspectives of both twins and over the course of two years. Impossible to put down, I can't recommend this book enough!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The 5th Wave

I found this book held up upon reading it a second time, in fact, I may have even liked it better. I do want to see the movie (although I may wait for it to hit the dollar theater) and I just put the sequel, "Infinite Sea" on hold. I'm not a huge alien fan (unless it's the X-Files), but this teen novel does a damn good job. With the young adult market saturated with paranormal romance and vampires and dystopias, it's refreshing to read something different. This book will appeal to both boys and girls, as it features alternating narrators. A great alien read!