Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Off On Our Own

I saw a patron check this out so on a whim I decided to read it when they returned the book. I was intrigued from the beginning, lately I've been interested in the tiny house movement and living off grid and this book makes that "far out idea" seem even more desirous. Ted and Kathy Carns have lived off grid at The Stone Camp for years and created their own little utopia. Ted breaks down how he did it, and how it wasn't an overnight process, it took years of hard work, salvaging, tinkering, and flea marketing to piece together their wonderful independent home. They have zero waste, recycle everything (coming up with ingenious ways to re-purpose everything!), and are completely self-reliant. It sounds hard but they've come up with inventive ways to hook up tvs, blenders, laptops, and more so they don't feel behind in any regard. This wonderful book isn't soo much a guide (although it does contain recipes, a few DIY projects, pictures, and basic outlines), as it is a memoir. Ted Carns admits freely throughout the book that there are many other handy DIY guides and manuals and pushed the reader to see where he got inspiration and how he improved on it. Very inspiring. A good look into how we can all make the world a better more sustainable place.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Murder Comes by Mail

For such a light hearted inspirational read there was certainly some dark subject matter contained in these pages. Deputy Michael Keane's good deed has backfired, and in an awful twisted way. After rescuing a man who was about to jump to his death, the suicidal man whispers "You'll wish you pushed me." The next day an envelope filled with pictures of a dead girl arrive and word is that the jumper has escaped from the psychiatric ward. What has the deputy done? How will he live with himself? As the bodies start piling up, the rumors go flying, his loved ones feel threatened. The Deputy must turn to God to get help in order to catch the madman that is threatening the sleepy little town of Hidden Springs. Filled with quaint larger than life small town figures, cute scenery, and unrequited romance, this mystery will attract inspirational romance readers who don't mind when things get a little dark. A charming little read.

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


What a powerful and provocative book! From the second I picked it up I couldn't put it down. The illustrations in this graphic novel are soo stark and contrasting and fit the theme of the story perfectly.

Persepolis is a graphic novel depicting what it was like to grow up a young girl in Iran during the early eighties. The fact that it's through the eyes of a young child make it that much more powerful. Her innocence is evident as she tries to wrap her head around the violence, the extreme religious movements, the veil, and more.

If you want to learn more about the Middle East or Iran and don't know where to start this book is a great introduction to the subject and will point you in the right direction.

What a seriously innovative and clever concept. Graphic novels keep on getting better and better. I cannot wait to read the sequel (which came out in 2004). If you like historical fiction/ non-fiction graphic novels be sure to also check out Maus which explores the concentration camps during World War II.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Bourne Identity

I'm ashamed to admit that I have never seen any of the Bourne movies. Not  one. So I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. The Bourne Identity basically reads like Ian Fleming on steroids. Intricate plots, double crosses, misinformation, kick ass fighting moves, and espionage. It was pretty awesome, especially since it was written four decades ago! This story still holds up and doesn't seem all that dated. Granted they use telephone booths and don't have easy access to Google, but there was still a level of high class sleuthing and killing. I honestly can't wait to see the movie and I look forward to reading more in this series.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Argonauts

A quick enlightening read, this genre bending memoir is a provoking look at identity, family, love, and emotion. It reads like stream of consciousness and jumps around to discuss pregnancy, gender fluidity, child rearing, stalking, and more. An empowering read that many will benefit from reading, although some will struggle with the free form writing style that jumps around from thought to thought. Not my favorite per say, but it contains many powerful messages that need to be heard.

Sister Eve and the Blue Nun

The third book in a quirky new mystery series by Lynne Hinton. Sister Eve is not your average nun, she's a motorcycle wearing, habit defying, mystery solving nun that has stumbled across a murder. One of the keynote speakers at a conference has been murdered and so far the main suspect is the speaker's brother, a monk at the monastery and good friend to Sister Eve. Convinced that Brother Anthony could never have murdered his own flesh and blood, Sister Eve sets out to solve the murder in her own clumsy way. A bungled crime scene later, some advantageous eavesdropping, and some breaking and entering later, she finds herself in deeper than she meant to go. On top of this all, she has to decide whether or not to stay a nun or to quit and join her father in his private detective business. Plus there is that cure officer she keeps running into... Soo many decisions to make and a murderer to catch. A cute inspirational mystery, but not very taxing or hard to solve.

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

Monday, May 23, 2016


Thanks to this wonderful Buzzfeed article, https://www.buzzfeed.com/maribackpack/is-marian-engels-1976-novel-bear-the-most-ridic-1eyhw, I found myself hopelessly intrigued by this Canadian bestselling bestiality erotica. So like a responsible librarian I placed it on hold and read it in one sitting. This book almost defies description. Only in Canada could a book about a lonely librarian taking on a bear as a lover become a bestseller and win major literary awards. I mean, to be fair, it was written well and there weren't too many bear on girl action scenes but still. My God Canada, what is going on! Although, I got duped into reading it so maybe they're onto something. For fans of Canadian ridiculous, bear lovers, and bestiality loving librarians.

The Goblins of Labyrinth

Obviously not too intensive of a read, but it is very silly and very fun and my GOD are the illustrations beautiful! Brian Froud has always had a wonderful knack for illustrating the best goblins, fairies, and other magical creations and this book is no exception. Nearly all of the goblins shown in this book you can find in the movie. Terry Jones does a great job of writing about each of the goblins and shedding some light on their histories and quirks. For example, Agnes (a scavenging goblin - you know the one in the dump) "is capable of collecting and carrying seventy times her own weight in discarded economic theories and abandoned political objectives. The empty promises, hollow opinions and worthless political statements are all snapped up by this voracious creature." A wonderful witty treat for fans of Jim Henson, Brian Froud, and of course, Labyrinth!

Writing My Wrongs

A wonderful and inspiring read about what it takes to pick yourself back up and make a difference. Convicted of murder at the age of nineteen, Shaka realized that he would be facing nearly two decades behind bars. He wouldn't get to raise either of his kids, and he knew that he was straining his relationship with his family. How had it gone downhill so fast? Shaka examines his life up until the moment he fired his gun and analyzes what he was going through, what he could have done, and how it set him up for life in prison. His prison experiences are harrowing to say the least. The rape, shankings, emotional abuse, and degradation sound almost unbearable, but after many years and a lot of soul searching, Shaka was able to think positively about his life and future and tried to help others locked up with him to do the same by being a mentor and leader. After his release, Shaka remained true to his word and set out to make a difference to those living in the slums of Detroit. He's an empowering speaker, dedicated father, and proof that we all have the power to turn our lives around. An emotional and necessary read!

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

Leave a Mark

It's been a few months since I read a good New Adult romance and this immediately piqued my interest because I love stories about tattoo artists (I really loved the quirky Tattoo Shop Mysteries by Karen E. Olsen!). Author Stephanie Fournet does a wonderful job bringing this heartwarming and gut wrenching romance to life with a wonderful sassy writing style that lends itself well to the two main characters. Wren is a sassy, no-nonsense tattoo artist, whose love for art is showcased by using her skin (and those she tattoos) as canvas. To say she's had a rough childhood is an understatement but as long as she has her Grandma Gigi, best friend, Cherise, and adorable cat Agnes she can get along fine. Until she can't. After a long day in the tattoo shop she collapses and is rushed to the emergency room and has to immediately have life saving surgery.
Dr. Lee Hawthorne finds himself smitten with the beautiful girl covered into tattoos and does his best so that no scars show on her art. He's so smitten that he even drives her to her apartment, helps her up the stairs, and cleans the kitty litter! There's only one problem. He's got a serious girlfriend. He's played his whole life safe but he's finding that it's lacking, is Wren the kind of women that he wants to spend his life with? Can he break past her barriers? Even the the doctor and the tattoo artist couldn't be more different they find they have more in common then meets the eye. Are they willing to fight for each other? Do they even have a chance? Many serious issues like addiction, sexual abuse, pedophilia, and child neglect are discussed. A definite must read for new adult fans, hot but not too steamy (only two major bedroom scenes, basically just the right amount!).

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

Leave a Mark: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Stephanie Fournet, author of Fall Semester, Legacy, and Butterfly Ginger, lives in Lafayette, Louisiana—not far from the Saint Streets where her novels are set. She shares her home with her husband John and her daughter Hannah, their needy dogs Gladys and Mabel, and an immortal blue finch named Baby Blue. When she isn’t writing romance novels, she is usually helping students get into college or running.  She loves hearing from fans, so look for her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and stephaniefournet.com.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Pre-order links for LEAVE A MARK:
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1Rohvpn
iBooks: http://apple.co/1Y30uRX
Nook: http://bit.ly/1pPcBHd
Smashwords: http://bit.ly/1TmsbpI

Want to win a free e-book of Leave a Mark? Comment below and I'll randomly choose a winner. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Berlin Boxing Club

Hands down one of the best fictional Holocaust novels for teens I have ever read, and I have read a lot! I could not put this down and finished this within a day. I love historical fiction and I love boxing so this book was a match made in heaven. Loosely based off of historical events surrounding the world heavyweight boxing champion from Germany, this novel centers on a young Jewish boy, Karl, in Berlin who gets the amazing opportunity to train under the great boxer himself. As anti-antisemitism grows in Germany, Karl finds himself in a tight spot; even though he looks Aryan and isn't a practicing Jew he gets lumped in with all the undesirables and all he wants to do is box, draw cartoons, and try to win over the cute girl living in the apartment complex. Filled with cartoon sketches, boxing advice, and the trials of growing up in a society where you and your family are reviled, this story resonated with me and I LOVED it! I liked it so much that it's one I would buy and re-read. Fantastic and not just for teenagers or fans of boxing.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Persian Pickle Club

I didn't think I would be able to relate to a novel about quilting but there was so much more to the story than that. Set amidst the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression Queenie and the members of the Persian Pickle Club pass the time helping each other and their community by quilting blankets to raise money for charity. When Rita marries a local boy and becomes part of their "quilting circle" she brings a youthful brashness that keeps everyone on their toys. She's load and brash but Queenie takes to her right away and they become fast friends helping each other through the loss of a child, the death of a friend's husband and squatters taking up on their land. Through it all quilting binds the women together and becomes the one reliable thing they have in such trying times. Truly a wonderful novel that beautifully illustrates the hardships endured during the great depression and women's thankless role in getting through it. Honestly I was also intrigued by the quilting parts as well, I wouldn't mind trying my hand at a small square. It sounds so fun!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Braving It

I fell harder for this book than I would have expected. I'm not much of an outdoorsy person, but the thrills that the father and daughter seek in Alaska and the ways that it binds them together and closer to nature, really spoke to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it makes me want to go seek adventure of my own. I want to cultivate my own "fernweh"(craving for travel) and create travel memories. Fifteen year old Aiden and her father James go on three separate trips to Alaska and in the process help build a cabin , scare off bears, hunt caribou, journey a dangerous river, and experience beauty like no other. It's wonderfully written and their experiences will charm you and make you want to get working on an adventure of your own.

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

The Blue Tattoo

Mifflin, Margot. The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman. 6 CDs. unabridged. 6.5 hrs. Tantor Audio. ISBN 9781515904908 $37.99.

Women's history author, journalist, and professor, Margot Mifflin, expands her research into this easily listenable tract about the life of Olive Oatman. In 1851, thirteen year old Olive was traveling west with her family when they were set upon by Yavapai Indians, she escaped the slaughter only to be taken hostage. Later traded to the friendly Mohaves she was raised as one of their own and even had her face tattooed as a symbol of belonging. She spent several happy years living among them until she was forced to return to white society and re-assimilate. Permanently branded, she was seen as an oddity and her childhood trauma and facial tattoo caused her celebrity status. Meticulously researched this true tale of wild west lore will captivate readers. For such a brutally fascinating glimpse into history, it reads remarkably light and may even interest teen readers and listeners as well. Wonderfully narrated by the talented voice actor, Kaipo Schwab, this story flows fast and compels listeners to keep listening. A must read for fans of wild west lore, women's history, and tattooing. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Thursday, May 12, 2016

When the River Rises

My second Hurricane Katrina graphic novel in a week, yet this one manages to tell a completely different story.  When the River Rises focuses on the juvenile detention facilities and prisons and the hell that they went through. Quan and all the other inmates at the juvenile facility are sent to the prison because it will be "safer" when the water rises from the Hurricane. Once there all hell breaks loose. Some other inmates have it out for Quan and are determined to kill him, if that's not enough, Quan sees his father in prison. Amidst all the human drama the waters are rising, the prison is flooding, power is lost, and guards are fleeing. Some prisoners decide to escape and that may be the only option for Quan, since those boys are determined to get him now that order is list in the prison. Harrowing and gritty, this graphic novel illustrates that the flood impacted everyone, and some worse than others.

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

I'm generally pretty leery of self-help books, but this was far and away, perhaps one of the best I've ever read. It offers practical, life changing advice that you can slowly introduce into your routine to help you succeed. I finished this in practically one sitting and I can' wait to begin applying the different life hacks into my life to see where it takes me. Just reading this book put me in a better state of being, I can hardly imagine what actually applying this book will do for me. I'm most excited about adding the six phase meditation to my morning routine, it's not a huge time commitment but it has the potential to open up so many doors. I'll have to write a follow up review after I've been practicing the life hacks for a set amount of time and can see and feel the results. A wonderful read that will open your mind and make you think about your perception of reality.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Drowned City

A quick read, this graphic novel does an amazing job outlining the complexities and horror of Hurricane Katrina. Don Brown did an astounding job writing and illustrating the events leading up to the disaster, the struggle for life and safety during the hurricane and flooding, and the chaotic aftermath. Not one to shy away from making it a clear cut disaster, Brown illustrates the screw ups, the loss of life, and the government miscommunication that helped ensure the death of more people than necessary. A great introduction for teens wanting to know more about what happened.

Bookishly Ever After

This book was adorable, I could totally relate to Phoebe and her incurable bibliohilia, although I was never into archery or knitting. Phoebe is sixteen and is a socially awkward knitting bookworm. She practically lives in her books but that doesn't stop her from having good friends that sometimes try to save her from herself. When she finds out that one of her guy friends Dev (yay for diversity! who doesn't love Indian boys!), may have a crush on her she turns to her books to try and work through it. How would her favorite heroines act, what would they wear, should she like him back? To the annoyance of her friends she is reluctant to take their advice and she makes the whole situation harder for herself by trying to live vicariously through her books. Should she trust her heart, her friends, or her fictional heroines? Totally nerdastic and adorable. This is for all the bookworms.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Three Bags Full

I don't know what it is but I could not get into this book. The narrator was fantastic and did a remarkably good job voicing sheep with English accents but that alone wasn't enough for me. It's original and unique but a little over the top for me. After a herd of sheep discover that their shepherd has been murdered they decide to figure out the mystery and discover who the killer is. They put their sheepy intuition to work; eavesdropping on humans, sneaking into town, and taking a good look at the people who have been sneaking around the pasture looking for something. I will admit it was a good mystery because I didn't piece it together, but all the same it was just a bit too much for me. Alas, I don't think I'm big into cozy animal mysteries, worth a try though!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Return to Labyrinth vol. 4

I'm sad this series had to end after four volumes, I want more! I need to investigate if there is fan fiction for this. If so I obviously have to read it! I love this world and Jake Forbes take on it wasn't bad. It was neat to see Toby and Sarah all grown up and to revisit characters that I had grown up loving as a child. This is probably a series that I will buy and re-read every few years. I didn't love how Jareth was portrayed but I loved being back in that world. All the feels!!!

Return to Labyrinth vol. 3

So far this has been my least favorite in the series but that will in no way deter me from finishing the whole thing. I don't think I liked this one as much because Jareth is portrayed as such a jerk. He's just a misunderstood romantic! In this volume, Toby has his coronation and we discover the secrets behind the mystery "goblin" girl. Slower paced than the first two, it took me longer to get into. Can't wait to see how everything turns out in the final volume!


Fast paced and infinitely readable, Dan Brown knows how to treat his readers to a special time. The plot may not always be my favorite but I do love learning about all the art architecture, history, and buildings that Robert Langdon describes in vivid detail. I was also excited to see that the poet Dante Alighieri featured prominently in this book so the reader gets to know a lot about his life as the story progresses. I didn't love the end, and I didn't particularly love the plot (a plague) but I finished this book in no time flat (thank you tiny chapters!). I am interested to see the movie adaptation later this year. Overall, another good thriller from Dan Brown, a must read for his fans and those of art history.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Return to Labyrinth vol 2

Another wonderful installment in the Return to Labyrinth series! I love that we get to know more about goblin culture and what it takes to be king. Toby is having a hard time governing the Labyrinth now that Jareth has up and left him to rule in his stead, but thankfully Toby quickly makes some friends (and enemies). I can't wait to fin out more about the mayor's servant (a human girl! how did she get there?!?) and the end of this manga made my heart race a little (you go Jareth!). All in good fun this is a must read for Labyrinth fans. I can't wait to finish the rest in this series!

Katheryn Kelly: The Moll Behind "Machine Gun" Kelly

A quick and enlightening read, this book will appeal to readers who enjoy learning about the dark underbelly of mobster day's long passed. Author Barbara Casey, puts forth a fast paced and easy read chronicling the rise and fall of Kathryn Kelly and her husband "Machine Gun" Kelly. The book promises to be about the Moll behind the monster, but in reality it covers all characters pretty equally and skims over her childhood in one small chapter. Even though it wasn't focused on just her, it was interesting to learn how she and her husband met and tried to pull off a major kidnapping case and in the process, bit off far more than they could chew. Even though readers won't learn about Kathryn's favorite foods, preferred designers, or previous husbands they will get a good understanding of how she helped her husband orchestrate some pretty dastardly crimes.

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

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Return to Labyrinth vol. 1

LOVED this! It was a little weird seeing this done as a manga but the artist did a great job in making many of the characters and goblins look the same (except for Sarah as an adult, she looks weird). Basically this story picks up when Toby is a teenager. Everything starts going wrong for him in school and one day a goblin runs in and steals his homework, enraged and not knowing what is going on he chases the creature through a small tunnel in his closet and ends up in the labyrinth where his older sister had been years before (although he doesn't know that, she never told him). He finds himself making friends with a fairy and adorable mini-ludo type creature and they work together to get to the castle, outrunning foes along the way. It's awesome and I can't wait to read the next three!

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The cover looks so menacing and creepy and with the whole murder in the summary I thought this book was going to be vastly darker than what it was! Instead it was... I don't know how to accurately describe it. Hauntingly beautiful and poetic, not scary or anything but slightly chilling at points. John Berendt found himself captivated by the city of Savannah and spending more and more time there because he was drawn to it's unique cast of characters and trapped in time ways. The love with which he describes the people he meets is evident and these are people you won't soon forget, about a third of the way through the book the reader finds himself wondering, what is going on, where is all the murder?!? Soon we understand that one of the people that Berendt has been getting to know finds himself embroiled in scandal by killing one of his part time employees. The cast of characters then circles around this intrigue and scandal creating a compelling look at how a city copes with murder. Fascinating and rich, this book makes me want to visit Savannah and experience the culture and people for myself. A wonderful book!