Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches

A quick enjoyable cookbook, full of fun anecdotes, great pictures, and amazing recipes. I will admit upfront that I have not made any of the recipes (YET!) but I definitely want to try some of these delectable sandwiches. They are all wildly unique and involve ingredients that you don't normally think have any place on a sandwich (broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, etc.) and as such can require a little more prep than most people normally put into making a sandwich. Over half the recipes involve meat, but with some imagination it would be easy to substitute vegetarian replacements for a weirdo herbivore like me. The Shadiest One is the recipe I'm dying to try out the most, it involves avocado, ricotta cheese, lemon, bread, cheddar cheese, cucumber muchim, and fried shallots. Tell me that doesn't sound amazing?!?!? Some others that sound like heaven on earth are: The Battle of Shanghai (general tso's tofu, spaghetti squash salad, pickled ginger, shiso, mayo), Zucchini Parm (fried zucchini, fontina, onion puree, pickled jaleponos, bbq potato chips), Taken 2 (broccoli falafel, fennel puree, muchim pickles, tomatoes), among dozens others. Seriously, what an awesome cookbook from the owner of the No. 7 shops in New York.

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

The Rector

When I picked up and saw that this was a "Christian murder mystery" my first thought was that it was going to be boring as sin, because we all need some salacious details, gossip, and gore to make it a little more interesting. Thankfully, I was quickly proven wrong. Michael Hicks Thompson does a great job of bringing small town southern gossip, church drama, and quirky characters to life. Yes there is a religious slant to it (beyond all the priests getting murdered), but it's honest and not too preachy. The story isn't 100% squeaky clean, one of the church goers is a former prostitute that gets raped and adultery comes up a few times, but overall this story will appeal to those that prefer clean Christian reads and those that like quirky mysteries. Martha McRae is a widow operating a boarding house in a small Mississippi town in the 1950s. When their priest unexpectedly dies a new rector comes to town to take his place. He takes lodging at Martha, but she quickly suspects that something isn't on the up and up. She puts her sleuthing skills to work to try and uncover whatever it is that's going on. Funny, lighthearted and filled with easy bits of theology, this book will appeal to a wide array of readers.

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lady Killer

The illustrations in this comic are fabulous! My eyes were glued to the page. It was a fun story line (for great insight read the introduction, you won't regret it!) enhanced by the amazing graphics. Female assassins aren't exactly known for getting their hands dirty. Suffocation and poison are the general favorites, but this comic turns all that around. A doting housewife and mother LOVES killing and loves getting her hands dirty. She'll take any job as long as she's back in time for dinner. Her superior is becoming annoyed that she isn't available at any time (because you know, kids) so he starts to think about cutting her loose, but they may prove to be  very very dangerous idea. Lots of fun! Worth a read!


Crazy unique concept, I loved it! Parents aren't allowed to have abortions; children are protected from conception to the age of 13. Between 13 and 18 parents can "unwind" their kids, letting all the parts go towards medical implants and grafts. Instead of advancing medicine or curing cancer they just replace bad body parts with unwind ones. When Conner accidentally finds out that his parents have filled out the paperwork for him to unwind he goes on the run and encounters other misfit unwinds trying to stay alive like himself. It really makes you question a lot and it is surprisingly deep for a teen novel.

Friday, June 24, 2016

End of Watch

A satisfying and inventive conclusion to the Bill Hodges trilogy. Brady Hartsfield (our villain from the first in the series, Mr. Mercedes) isn't completely braindead. Thanks to some highly illegal drugs provided by an overzealous doctor, Brady is coming to. His body will remain broken but he's discovered telekinesis and the ability to enter into other people's minds. Over the years he has been honing his talents in order to exact vengeance on Bill Hodges for thwarting his master plan. Brady finds a way to manipulate a hand held game to make it a hypnotic entrance into unsuspecting minds. His sinister pleasure is convincing them to kill themselves. No one could ever believe what he is capable of, perhaps not even Bill Hodges; it's an evil so deep that it almost escapes detection, almost. A sad, but believable ending. Stephen King at his best!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Infidel Stain

I read the first in the Avery and Blake series last year so it was very fortuitous that I won the audiobook of the second installment. Rather than taking place in India like the first one, this one is set in the grimiest parts of London. Jeremiah Blake and Captain Avery haven't seen each other in three years, but their daring exploits in India made them very popular and a wealthy aristocrat wants to hire their services. Two printers have been murdered in rather gruesome ways and the police are doing nothing about it. He wants Blake and Avery to look into the matter and find the killer. Things quickly go awry and the plot thickens as deep as the smog. An enjoyable romp through the underbelly of nineteenth century London and full of unforgettable characters. The narrator does a great job with voice accents and it is definitely worth a listen.

I received this book for free from Librarything.

A Walk to Remember

Admittedly not as good as the first time I read it in sixth grade, but this teenage sick-lit romance (spoiler!) still kinda holds up. I honestly almost like the movie better than I do the book. Which is blasphemous I know. But the modern day version of it is more intriguing than the 50's version that takes place in the book. Long before John Green there was Lurlene McDaniels and Nicholas Sparks writing "sick-lit" romances that made teenagers cry, this is a prime example. The bad boy falls for the good girl, and he later finds out (spoiler!) that she's dying. A sappy tear jerker that will always be popular.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Gym Candy

I'm not a huge sports fan but that didn't stop me from enjoying this teen football novel about the dangers of doping and steroids. Mick Johnson has spent his whole life in his father's impressive football shadow and he's determined to prove to him and to himself that he can be the best running back in town. Determined to bulk up fast and become a starter on the varsity team he starts taking steroids on the side because his trainer convinces him it's safe and it will help him unleash his inner beast.  Soon all Mick is doing is working out and trying to outplay his teammates. He pushes his friends away in his quest for greatness and becomes very focused on achieving the only thing he thinks he cares with him. Obviously this comes with a huge price and everything could fall apart in an instant if someone discovered the truth. A quick easy read that is realistic and helps people understand how athletes and body builders fall into the doping trap. A great read for teenage boys, especially jocks.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The Apache Wars

At times dense and overwhelming, but definitely worth reading. Hutton does a great job compiling the longest war in American history without making it read like a textbook. It's as unbiased and fair as possible, and the author does a good job of outlining when the White Eyes (white Americans) are screwing over the Apaches and vice-versa (obviously though the White Eyes are the biggest ones at fault). I knew literally nothing before starting this and it kinda blew my mind, wild west history is so fascinating. I had heard of Geronimo and the Apache kid but it was completely out of context to what really happened. It's a sad story of a quickly diminishing land, broken treaties, vengeance, raids, kidnappings, and murder. It keeps getting more depressing the further you read because the government has less patience and less land to "give." A must read for fans of the wild west and Native American history. Included are pictures that help bring the whole story to light.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Seed

A profound look at an old tale in a new light. A remarkable journey filled with truth, darkness, fear, and hope. Haunted by a terrible shadow and a fearsome dragon; Tatus, Madeline, and Roark work diligently to create a labyrinth in which to trap the shadow that haunts them. Convinced that God will be pleased with their man-made Labyrinth symbol, they begin to toil on it ceaselessly, never thinking of anything else, only doing that which is familiar to keep the darkness at bay. Brick by brick they build a fortress without realizing that it is the darkness trapping them in, not vice-versa. Faced with the truth and the light, they discover the past and a path to set them free, if only they can accept it. A must read for those interested in theology and hearing God's word in another light.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Date Like a Girl Marry Like a Woman

As a painfully single woman there wasn't a lot for me to glean out of this book. It's split into two sections: rules for those who are dating and rules for those who are married. Each section has 30 rules that a polished woman should follow and contains anecdotes about the author's life, old adages, and how to put the rule in practice. This book is only recommended for wealthy and sexually active. I would not recommend giving this to your religious cousin who just got engaged, that is, unless you want her to pray for your soul. In the dating portion of the book, Bunevacz advocates sleeping around and dating at least three men (the perfect number!). It is recommended to wait to sleep with a man until the second date, but if you slip up its no big deal. Crotchless panties are a must (I guess it's time to update my undergarments, I've been doing it wrong for years!). Also, never trust a woman with dark gums because she will apparently steal your man.

The married portion was a little darker. Don't be afraid to sniff your husbands balls to check that he's not sleeping with anyone. There can be no secrets (except a bank account with money he doesn't know about), your husband should give you all passwords and you should have access to all his money. There is also a lot on how to properly take care of your vagina so you don't scare men away (keep it tight! douche! wax!). I know I'm making it sound completely awful but there were a few redeeming qualities as well. Always have date nights, leave something on during sex (that way the naked body never gets old which is probable if you've been with someone for years), don't gossip, learn how to say sorry, etc.

"Date Like a Girl Marry Like a Woman" reminded me of Zsa Zsa Gabor's hilariously sexist and outdated, "How to Catch a Man, How to Keep a Man, How to Get Rid of a Man." This self-help guide will be of most use to wealthy housewives, fans of Sex in the City, fans of Jessica Bunevacz, and the promiscuous (or as a Bunevacz calls them MANizers). It's not written badly, but as an independent, student loan paying, cat lady librarian, 90% of this book didn't apply to me. I'm sure it will be of genuine use to some people, but not for me.

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

Saturday, June 11, 2016


A powerful memoir about a young woman's messed childhood dealing with Munchausen by Proxy (MPB) at the hands of her mother. Prior to this book I had never heard of MPB, but after reading this sordid tell all, I definitely have a grasp for how horrible it is. Basically a parent or other figure convinces you that our sick and you need to go to doctor to doctor to find out what is wrong with you. Unnecessary tests, surgeries, and being forced to lie to doctors is just the tip of the ice berg. Her parents were also mean, abusive, belligerent, and uncaring. It's a horrifying book reminiscent of "A Child Called It." It's eye opening and I hope to God, that Julie Gregory is able to move on with her life for good. Soo much trauma, I can't even imagine.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Time Lifted

There is more to this book than meets the eye. Despite the lackluster cover, this book was rather engaging. The story opens with a young girl fighting to fall asleep as she continues to have nightmares about the beatings that her abusive father rains down on her, her mother, and her dog, Shadow. Flash forward to 1995 and that girl has grown into a young woman. Instead of being stuck in an abusive relationship like her mother was, she's stuck in an emotionally abusive one. Doreen is addicted to Joel, she knows he's no good for her, but heart doesn't listen to her brain. When he tells her that he's marrying another woman she swears off him again and decides to spend a week hiking in the mountains. Little does she know that Joel has plans of his own.

Joel has no intentions of letting her move on with his life, he still wants to have a "relationship" with her when he's married so he follows her up to the mountains to convince her to be the other woman. While up in the mountains they end up stumbling through a waterfall and enter a timeless valley, though they aren't aware of it at the time. A little old woman named Kathleen has a house and welcomes them in. Soon they are joined by Sam, a pilot from the year 2086 and that's where things start to get weird.

Sam and Doreen have no problem accepting the fact that they have come to a magical healing place, but Joel is not ready to give in so easily, nor is he willing to let Sam try and befriend Doreen. He isn't willing to "share her" with anyone. As Sam and Doreen start to lose themselves in the magic of the valley, play with the friendly mountain lion, swim in deep waters, and help out a stray dog that look suspiciously like her old dog, Shadow, Joel's selfishness and ill-will start to get in the way. Doreen has no idea that everything hinges on her to keep the valley safe. Will she be able to make the right decision and live in the valley in peace? Or will she continue to be a victim and not trust in the healing of the valley and her new friends?

At first it was hard to root for Doreen because she kept making the same wrong decisions over and over again, but she definitely grows as a character. I would have liked to have more description on what the characters actually looked like, the scenery was lushly described but I couldn't visualize any of the characters. Overall though a nice read that contains traces of fantasy without being too over the top so it can potentially attract a wider audience.

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Fireman

Hands down my favorite Joe Hill book to date! Once I got into this I couldn't put it down and I stayed up past midnight last night to finish reading it. The Fireman was eerily reminiscent of "Fahrenheit 451" and his father, Stephen King's "The Stand" (which he acknowledges in the introduction, as well as giving JK Rowling some love. How can you not love this man??). Instead of a plague taking over the world, a spore is. Called dragonscale, it infects people causing their bodies to become "tattooed or written on with the scale" and eventually they start smoking, combust and die. When Nurse Harper contracts it her husband leaves in disgust, hoping he doesn't get it from her. Alone and pregnant she finds herself being helped as a man known as The Fireman because he has learned to control his dragonscale and weaponize it to defend himself. As the world slips further into decline and despair, Harper and the fireman hide in a little colony of the infected, trying to hide from cremation crews and other uninfected people who are soo scared of contracting dragonscale that they kill anyone they see with it. Together they learn to control and manage their dragonscale, even seeing it as a gift. Wonderfully written, the characters were tragically beautiful and sarcastic and at the end of the world I would want them by my side. LOVED this book!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Mansfield Park

Austen, Jane. Mansfield Park. 15 CDs. unabridged. 18.75 hrs. Dreamscape Audio. ISBN 9781520002811.

While Mansfield Park may be one of the lesser read and appreciated Austen novels, this unabridged audio gives it new life and Austenites and other readers may find themselves drawn to the shy, level-headed Fanny Price.  As the eldest daughter of many in a poor household, she was whisked away at age ten to live at her rich aunt's house as a ward. Always made to feel inferior, Fanny passes the time being timid, meek, but always ready to lend a hand. The four cousins she lives with pay her no mind, save Edmund, who takes her under his wing. In her eighteenth year she is introduced to her cousin's friends and is reluctantly allowed to be a part of their society, which definitely tries her patience and fortitude as they get up to no good. Can she keep her moral bearing and good spirits? Narrated beautifully by the talented Anna Bentinck who brings the Georgian Society to life with her accent. Recommended for fans of classic literature and Jane Austen, a wonderful rendering.  - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Friday, June 3, 2016

Trip Through Your Wires

Great build up as the reader goes back and forth in Carey's troubled life. From her time as a study abroad student in Mexico to the present as a broke 28 year old living with her parents in Indianapolis. Carey has a hard time letting go of the past and what happened in Mexico won't leave her mind, as long as her head is stuck on what she went through she can't focus on moving forward. Her boyfriend Ben was murdered in Mexico and years later a new piece of evidence has turned up that makes her want to rethink and relive every moment she spent down there with him. What really happened? Was it her fault, will the answers give her peace and help her move on with her life? Intriguing, even though I didn't see Carey's obsession with Ben, maybe I have to high a standard for my fictional men?! Other than that though a very compelling look at grief and the healing and/or destructive power of memory.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


Stephen King's "Firestarter" meets teenage delinquents in juvie. This young adult novel was creepy and compelling and kept me guessing. Angela is just biding her time until she gets out of Brunesfield Correctional Facility for Girls, she and her bunk mates get along fine but things get weird when they bring in a young girl by the name of Jessica. Weird things happen around Jess, people get burned, freaky fires occur, and a new group of people start working at the facility. Most of the girls at Brunesfield are a little dangerous, but someone seems to be more dangerous than the rest. Also, who are the new people, why are they there? Is there an experiment? Angela has to stick to her guns and get to the bottom of whatever is going on. Freaky and fun, I really enjoyed this book. Plus the ending is pretty badass!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Only Pirate at the Party

I was honestly surprised how much I enjoyed this memoir. I read it in one sitting last night. I've followed Lindsey Stirling's career ever since I saw her first youtube video in 2010 and this book offered a unique and eye opening glimpse into her childhood, beginning of career up until now. I have a much greater appreciation for her after reading this. She is very unassuming and modest (I had no idea she was Mormon!) which is rare for a musician of her fame and talent. She stills drives her parents old Toyota Echo (that's my car!), spent a year and a half as a Mormon missionary on the East Coast, worked her way up from the bottom, threw herself back into her music after losing America's Got Talent, worked through her anorexia, and eventually achieved super stardom after a lot of hard work and support from family and friends that never gave up on her. It's an inspiring memoir and a must read for fans of her music. Teens and adults that like "clean" memoirs (no drugs, sex, or alcohol) will also enjoy this, it's very refreshing honestly.

Asking For It

Hands down the most brutal and honest look at teenage rape in our modern era of social media. Louise O'Neill does a great job bringing Emma to life, she's flawed and she's bitchy but was she really asking for it? Leading up to "the night," Emma is the most beloved, admired, and beautiful girl in her grade. She always turns heads and she can have any boy she wants. The night of the rape(s) becomes a turning point, the boys didn't mean it, they were her friends, but then the pictures showed up online and all her friends turn against. She shouldn't have been wearing that outfit. She shouldn't have drank that much. She shouldn't have been such a flirt. She becomes shamed and ostracized, she's ruining these poor boy's lives. The hate never ends and all she wants to do is disappear. The story is not sugar coated and the ending pulls a massive punch. So often we gloss over sexual violence, side with the young accused men, and shame the girls, but in literature there is somehow always a happy ending. This young adult novel tells the real heart-wrenching story.