Sunday, July 31, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Worth the wait, I loved every word in this book. I refuse to post any spoilers, just know that it takes place nineteen years after book seven and is in play format. It's a quick read and once you get going you forget you're reading a script. It's dark, beautiful, and it drops you right back off into the wizarding world. I laughed, I cried (a lot, but that's just me), I was enchanted. I cannot wait to see this acted out on stage. It's wonderful, JK Rowling never disappoints!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Hobbit

I'm glad to say that I enjoyed re-reading this book as much as I enjoyed reading it for the first time when I was in fifth grade (I believe this is the fourth time I've read it).

Personally, I always enjoyed this tale more than the Lord of the Ring's series because it was more straightforward, easier to understand, and much, much shorter.

This story tells the tale of a young hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who is cajoled into going on an adventure with thirteen dwarves and a wizard as they try and reclaim the Lonely Mountain from a treacherous old dragon named Smaug. Along the way they have to battle off goblins, elves, trolls,giant spiders, and suffer through fantastically cruel landscapes just to get to the mountain. Along the way, Bilbo learns a great deal about himself and and the world around him and is drastically changed for the better. This is a fantastic adventure story for the young and old alike, it is a timeless tale, of bravery, hardships, and friendship and is a must read for all.

The Mighty Boosh: The Complete BBC Radio Series

Just as ridiculous and zany as their tv show; this radio series set the ground work for their first season on BBC, the songs and script are all virtually the same. Listening to it made me really nostalgic for the show and I believe a re-watch is in order. Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding are probably my favorite British comedians but they're not for everyone, if you don't like ridiculous over the top humor then go elsewhere, but then you'd be missing out. A weird zoo, ping pong playing apes, awful jazz, witchcraft, and more, this odd upbeat collection is sure to put a smile on your face.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The End of Your Life Book Club

A moving memoir about a two person book club that is formed when a son's mother is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. To pass the time during chemo they form a bond reading literary novels both modern and classic, the novels help open up discussion about his mom's childhood, spirituality, world issues, and more. Inspiring and sure to give readers a longer reading list, this book will remind you to have those talks with loved ones, treat others with respect, and make the world a better place. Told from the son's perspective, he is candid and honest about his relationship with his mother, his fears, and overprotectiveness. His mother was a very awe inspiring person who led a rich life helping those less fortunate than herself and her son does a great job keeping her memory alive with this memoir.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ms. Marvel: Super Famous

The 5th installment in the highly acclaimed Ms. Marvel series did not disappoint. Kamala Kahn has finally become an avenger and couldn't be more excited. Well she could be, if she had time to be excited. She's struggling to balance her home life, her school life, and her superhero life. She's practically sleepwalking through everything. When she discovers that her best friend has a girlfriend she is upset, her's her boy!Trying to juggle everything is proving nearly impossible so she makes some clones to help her get through the day, only problem is they keep replicating! Now she's in more trouble than ever. Another fun installment.


Definitely an eye opening and informative book. I'll admit that I knew next to nothing about the band's actual history. I've listened to all the studio albums (and many live ones), seen them live once and read JAMerica; which is all I knew about them before I read this. Written for the laymen and the curious this book tracked their beginning, their rise, their breakup and eventual reunion in 2009. Written through the adoring eyes of a fan, it still remains honest and critical about many moments in the band's career. Reading this definitely makes me appreciate the creative process behind Phish's songs and makes me like them even more. I'm sad I came on the scene late, but better late than never.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Sunlight Pilgrims

It's 2020 and the world is entering another ice age. In Scotland there is a small caravan park in the mountains preparing itself for the coldest winter anyone has ever seen in their lifetimes. Dylan lost his mother, his grandmother, and the family movie theater in London. The only place he has to go is a small caravan he had no idea even existed, thankfully his mother had the foresight to buy it in cash before her death. Armed only with a suitcase Dylan arrives in the cold, godforsaken, but oddly beautiful park. He is immediately smitten with the young mother next door and her ridiculously cool daughter. Constance and her daughter Stella, are immediately smitten with their new neighbor Dylan, enjoying his tall stature, beard, tattoos, and London stories. They slowly start to invite him into their lives where he discovers that Stella is in the process from transitioning from a boy to a girl and Constance is looked down upon because for years she's always had two lovers. Can this odd trio band together and survive the coming subzero temperatures? Cute, quirky, and honest, this book had me hooked from the beginning. Personally I had a crush on Dylan and would love to have shared his caravan with him. Stella was a breath of fresh air and is wonderfully developed as is her mom who is imperfectly perfect. A fantastic read!

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Something Wicked This Way Comes

I won't lie this wasn't my favorite of Ray Bradbury's but it did hold some charm for me. It definitely reminded me of "The Halloween Tree" which I enjoyed, but it was a tad slow moving in places. A carnival comes to a small town and Jim Nightshade and his friend Will, realize that something isn't right with the carnival folks, something seems evil. While snooping on the carnival they get caught and fear for their lives, they must find a way to stop the carnies or lose their lives. Definitely creepy and wonderfully written. I must admit, I am looking forward to seeing how well the movie aligns with the book.


As a newbie on the scene, this book was completely eye opening. It talked about how the jam band scene grew out of the Grateful Dead and found it's footing in some bars in New York and how it spread by word of mouth. I had no idea that the Spin Doctors were a jam band, no idea! I grew up loving them, but my idea of "jam band" was a little warped. The author/editor of this compilation of interviews does a great job discussing the "definition" of jam band and the controversy surrounding it. Not all musicians want to be known as jam bands, because the term can be limiting. Overall this was a wonderful book that helped me appreciate and understand the scene even more.

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place

I adored this book. Even though it's really a middle grade read and told through the perspective of a twelve year old girl, I ate it up. While her parents are in Peru, Margaret Rose Kane finds herself stuck in a summer camp, hating everything. Determined to not be swayed the "Queen" camp director, Margaret decides not to do anything. Whenever she's asked to participate she replies, "I prefer not to." Fed up, the director calls her uncles who are temporary guardians for her while her parents are out of the country. The uncles whisk her out of camp and take her back to their whimsical house., complete with art towers, on 19 Schuyler Place, which is exactly where Margaret Rose Kane wanted to be in the first place. Things aren't all hunky dory though, Margaret finds out that the towers have been condemned and will be torn down in weeks. Armed with her incorrigible attitude, she determines that her summer project will be to save the towers. Great fun and narrated beautifully by Molly Ringwald.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vincent, Survivor

Full of fun, this wacky dystopian novel pulled me in from the first page. Vincent and his older brother Dante practically grew up on the streets. With all the violence, disappearances, and his brother getting locked up in jail, Vincent assumed that his city Oakwood would kill him eventually. But that's where he's wrong. Evil forces have come into the world through magic portals and he has to dodge minotaurs and ghouls. He wishes he had to worry about gang violence, because this is too weird even for him! All he has is his smart ass mouth, a pistol packing elder by the name of grandma, a talking pug that is supposedly the greatest wizard ever, his brother, and the cute girl next door. Together they must try to escape the city to get to a sanctuary they heard about on the radio or risk getting torn to bits. Full of adventure, ridiculousness, sarcastic comebacks, and general badassery; this book will appeal to readers of comedic fantasy, Christopher Moore and Douglas Adams. Lots of fun and a great debut by O.L. Eggert. The books ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so get ready for the next book; this is the first in a series!

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The May Queen Murders

Cool concept, slightly creepy, and amazing setting, but this wasn't a slam dunk for me. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and read it mostly in one sitting, but the ending was too intricate and over-involved for my taste. Rowan's Glen is an odd little community, almost cultish in their old beliefs and attitudes, but really, more old world and secluded. Ivy and her best friend Heather, have never had any secrets between them, but overnight that practically changes. Heather starts seeing someone and sneaking off with townies and Ivy gets concerned. Especially when mutilated animal corpses are becoming a common occurrence and the legend of Birch Markle re-surges. Many years ago the May Day queen was viciously murdered by the unstable madman Birch, and for years Glen folks have thought he had retreated into the woods for good. But when the mutilated animal carcasses appear, bad omens come, and Heather disappears, many believe he has come back for good. Ivy is determined to figure out what's going on, save her friend, and stay alive. Dark and creepy, this was a fun book to read at night. I wish I loved it more.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Tarzan of the Apes

A surprisingly quick read! I found myself enjoying it more than I thought I would, and I feel that this would have been even more sensationally astounding at the beginning of the twentieth century. Tarzan is born on the coast of Africa to two loving English parents who have been dropped off ship by a mutinous crew. His parents die during his infancy and he is raised by Kala, a loving ape who just lost her own child. He is reared in ape fashion and lives as they do become "king of the jungle," when he stumbles upon his parents cabin he begins to teach himself to write in English from the books they left behind. When a ship arrives with a beautiful young girl he is enamoured and tries to woo her with actions and words since he cannot speak. Compelling, and exciting, this adventure story has something for everyone, even though the ending is a little lacking (this is the first in the series).


I LOVED this book. Dr. Vincent Di Maio may have been a smidge too cocky for my taste, which, by rights, he probably should be  because he's had one hell of a career, but it was a little off-putting at moments. Besides that, this book was dark and intriguing; I learned so much about forensic pathologists, the difference between medical examiners and coroners, how evidence is collected and what it can tell. Dr. Di Maio's expertise is so great in his field that he often gets called t look at high profile deaths and determine the cause of death. He was on hand for the Trayvon Martin case, the nurse killer, the West Memphis Three, and lots of other murders/ suicides /accidents that you may not have heard of. He breaks down the outline of what happened leading up to the person or persons died and then details how he determined the cause of death. It's fascinating. As he says, "I don't autopsy people. I autopsy bodies. A person is something alive and vibrant and different. Bodies are just what they leave behind." A must read for those who love dark, macabre, and sensational cases.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Summer Days and Summer Nights

I read the first collection, "My True Love Gave to Me" and I LOVED IT! I was a little scared that I had set the bar too high on this follow up, but no worries. I loved this one just as much. There is an amazing slew of teen authors who contributed to this: Francesca Lia Block (although her contribution was my least favorite, it's a darker depressing one - so basically her style), Libba Bray, Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, and more. Each story is a summer romance, but other than that they are all unique. There is a sci-fi one, a gay one, a fantasy one, a futuristic one, and more. My favorite one may have been  "Last Stand at the Cinegore" because everything about that short story was hilarious and memorable. Overall, a wonderful collection that you will want to come back to time and again. I certainly plan on buying it for my personal collection!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Cantaloupe Thief

Debut novelist, Deb Richardson-Moore, does a bang up job creating a southern mystery that combines homelessness, alcoholism, a decade old murder, and addiction into one intriguing hard to solve whodunnit. Forty-one year old reporter, Branigin Powers, has no idea how deep she'll have to go for her new story. On the tenth anniversary of the only unsolved murder in Grambling, Branigin tries to uncover new details or angles to the stabbing of an elderly widow. Leaving no stone unturned, Branigin starts to look at the homeless population to see if maybe a transient person could have been behind it. In the middle of her investigation her twin brother, an often homeless addict, resurfaces and she finds herself being hit on all sides. How will she keep everything straight? Is there ore they could be doing to help the homeless? For an inspirational mystery, this novel tackles a lot of hard issues which is refreshing. A great debut and beginning of a new mystery series.

I received this book for free from Kregel Publications in return for my honest, unbiased opinions.

James and the Giant Peach

I gave this a 5 out of 5 rating mainly for the narration by Jeremy Irons. Holy hell. He could narrate a phone book and I would line up to buy it. His voice is smooth as peanut butter. As beautiful as a willow tree. As exciting as a festival. It's everything I've ever wanted in a narrator. I want him to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Jeremy Irons took an already fun and inventive children's book and made it even better. I apologize that this review is more about Jeremy Irons than the book, but his voice is damn distracting. Good book, even better narrator.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Welcome to the Monkeyhouse

Every time I re-read this I fall in love with it all over again. Honestly one of my favorite Vonnegut books, his short stories are masterful and stick with you. Each one of the twenty five short stories in this collection are well worth a read and pack a punch. Some of my favorites are Harison Bergeron, Who Am I This Time, The Foster Portfolio, and hell, who am I kidding? I love all of them! This collection is a great introduction to anyone who has never read Vonnegut. It's got some sci-fi, romance, satire, and intrigue. Of course there is his famous black humour and hoosier-isms packed in throughout. A personal favorite that ages well and always reads well.

Friday, July 1, 2016


Danler, Stephanie. Sweetbitter. 10 CDs. unabridged. 12.5 hrs. Books on Tape. ISBN 9780399566301. 

Debut novelist, Stephanie Danler, minces no words in this lushly described coming of age novel. Set in a New York restaurant, Tess finds out first hand what it means to come alive; be it with food, wine, cocaine, or the stunningly attractive bartender. Determined to fully immerse herself in New York culture, Tess dives in and soaks up her new job and surroundings. She desires to belong and to learn everything, nothing is off limits, even if it means she is in an awkward love triangle with her mentor and the bad boy bartender. Vividly described, this novel brings all the senses to life, listeners will feel as if they are actually eating in a posh NYC restaurant or sipping expensive wine. Alex McKenna's young throaty narration really brings the Tess' young naive character to life and articulates the hustle and bustle of busy kitchen action to a T. A must read for gastronomes, New York City lovers, and fans of coming of age novels. A stunning debut. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN