Monday, January 30, 2017

Ms. Marvel: Civil War II

Admittedly not my favorite in the series, but it's still a good read and I'm not abandoning Ms. Marvel even though everyone else )in the comic) seems to be. Captain Marvel entrusts her to lead a group of cadets to help wipe out crime before it happens, at first she thinks it's great but the ethics of what she's doing doesn't really hit home until one of her friends is detained for thinking about frying an electrical grid. Her friends turn against her for holding him since he hasn't done anything wrong, and when she questions the morals of what she's doing Captain Marvel and her cadets turn against her too. It really is a civil war.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

I can't give this book enough praise, it was truly an eye opening, enlightening, and powerful read. I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't know much about Malcolm X except that he took the opposite stance from Dr. Martin Luther King on Civil Rights and was also assassinated, I knew nothing about the religion of the Nation of Islam or even Malcolm X's life. Starting with his early life, through his time hustling on the streets of Harlem to prison, then to his conversion to the Nation of Islam and his political beginnings his autobiography covers it all. Sad;y he never got to see it published but Alex Haley wrote a wonderful and fitting epilogue to his life that was cut too short. Not an easy read, but a necessary one.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

That's So '90s Pop!

Fill in activity/ coloring books keep getting more ridiculous and wonderful. This is no exception. Filled with 90s pop icons such as the Sprice Girls, R. Kelly, Aaron Carter, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, TLC, Destiny's Child and more there is a little something in here for everyone. They even have some slightly obscure gems such as Lil' Kim's two truths and a lie, the Lou Bega word search, Kriss Kross Kriss Crossword, and more. Besides coloring there is trivia, crossowrds, haikus, mazes, hangman, and word searches. The quality of some of the celebrities leaves a little to be desired and another drawback is that the pages aren't perforated and don't rip out easily, but overall the creativeness and bizarenees makes up for it. Who doesn't want to color Alannis Morissette?!? 

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

After Tupac and D Foster

A good story that lots of teens will relate too, but I was a little disappointed it wasn't longer or had a larger plot. It's a pretty simplistic story about how two young black girl's lives are changed when a girl named D. Foster walks onto their block. They immediately become best friends and the girls try to probe for details about D's mysterious life. All they know is that she has a foster mom and is obsessed with Tupac. Over the next two years they slowly learn more about her troubled past and that only makes them more committed to being her friend. They learn how to deal with boys, racism, broken homes, gays, developing bodies, and more. A good coming of age novel, I just wish there were a little more to it.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mary Wept over the Feet of Jesus

A quick, thoughtful, and interesting comic series on prostitution and religious obedience in the bible. Chester Brown does a fantastic job bringing to life the stories of Ruth, Mary, and other famous prostitutes mentioned in the Bible in a comic format that is engaging and well drawn. There is a lengthy afterward and notes section where he talks about his appreciation of prostitutes, the stigma behind them, and the inspiration for the creation of the comic. A fun read, even for those who aren't super practicing Christians. It may offend some, but hey, it's in the Bible.  

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Grimm's Fairy Tales

When I was a kid I had an illustrated edition of Grimm's Fairy Tales and it always terrified and delighted me. Listening to an all star cast (Jim Dale, Alfred Molina, etc) narrate the abridged version of these classics really brought me back. Also, it helped me recall how truly messed up the stories were. This abridged version is still a cakewalk to the original messed up dark fairy tales that you can find if you dig deep enough, but they're still enough messed up to give you a picture. There's lots of murders, bad parents, naughty kids, kings that like killing their daughter's suitors, and magic animals. There is truly a little something for everyone. This collection includes all the classics such as: Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, the little goose girl, and Rumpelstiltskin. The all ages, genders, and accents brought by the full cast make it a joy to listen to. A wonderful version, suitable for kids (and adults).

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

March: Book One

There is no way to not give this book a 5 star rating, wonderfully laid out, illustrated and portrayed; this moving graphic novel adaptation of Senator John Lewis' life and involvement in the Civil Rights movement should be required reading. Not just for teens or kids, but adults too. Starting with his early life and going up through the lunch counter protests, book one shows how John Lewis got his feet wet in the movement and started to become a figurehead in it. I can't wait to read the next two in this graphic novel trilogy. This book will never not be relevant.

Holding up the Universe

A charming, hard to put down young adult book that is sure to garner lots of teen fans. Told from alternating perspectives of two extraordinarily different teenagers; Libby Strout was once so fat she had to be cut out of her house, Jack Masselin on the other hand is a popular jock with a hidden secret, he can't see or remember faces. When his friends dare him to try out this game they dubbed, "fat rodeo" he jumps on the back of Libby to see how long he can hang on. She punches him in the face and they both end up in detention. Together they realize they have more in common then they thought and build a beautiful friendship that hints at something more. Wonderfully told, you can't help but feeling for Libby and Jack and cringing when life throws them curve-balls. A wonderful read that kept me hooked.

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

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Grownup

Super quick, super weird, and super fun. I read this lil' baby book over my lunch break and i thoroughly enjoyed it. Upgraded from giving hand jobs in the back of the psychic/tarot reading/palmistry shop our protagonist becomes an aura interpreter making up stuff about people's "auras." It may not be glamorous but it pays the bills and it's saving her from the carpel tunnel setting in from years of handies. One day a smart, wealthy woman comes in with a real dilemma. The house is haunted, her stepson is acting weird and please oh please would she come look at it and see if she can fix the houses' aura?  The story takes some unexpected turns and leaves the reader wondering, where does the evil really lie? A fun read.


The first poetry collection I've read this year, or maybe even longer than that. Wonderfully haunting and evocative, this collection of poems by Solmaz Sharif sticks to your soul like bubblegum on a sneaker. The words wound and pierce; mimicking the war in the Middle East which she writes so passionately about. Sharif proves that sometimes the pen can be mightier than the sword in this brutal, emotional, must read poetry collection. A must read for everyone, not just poetry buffs.

I Was a Bitch

What happens when two years of your life are erased? Lacey Jones emerges from a coma with no recollection of the last two years of her life. Last time she checked she was your normal sixteen year old teenager. Now she's the hot eighteen year old queen bee of her high school. She hardly recognizes herself or her friends and when a smoking hot football player comes into the hospital to give her a smooch she's even more confused. She's dating that sexy jock? How in the world did she achieve all this? What happened to her old friends? And what about this sexy boy named Finn who keeps showing up? Is he an ex boyfriend? Refusing to admit to anyone other then her doctor and family that she has selective amnesia, Lacey plods along trying to pick up the pieces of her past on her own. To her horror, she discovers the awful truth, that she was a bitch. A spiteful, cheating, conniving bitch. Filled with humor, outlandish situations, high school drama, and budding romance, this 500+ page young adult book asks readers what they would do if they could get a second chance.

Around the World in 80 Days

Jim Dale (narrator of the Harry Potter series) really helped bring to life this classic adventure novel. Admittedly, I've never read the book or seen any of the movie adaptations, so I didn't know what to expect. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that there was no hot air balloon scene?! The most iconic book covers and images have always portrayed Phileas Fogg in a hot air balloon traveling around the world but, spoiler alert, that is not one of the methods used for transportation. While at his gentleman's club Fogg takes a bet that he can go round the world in 80 days. A precise, mathematical, and intelligent man, Fogg has no doubt that it can be done so he bets his life savings. Armed with only a small travel sack and his trusty French manservant, the two of them depart on the biggest adventure of their lives. Exotic adventures await them in China, India, Hong Kong, crossing the oceans, and America. Can Fogg really pull it off? And why is there a British man tailing him on this journey? A fun read for all ages. Admittedly, a little outdated in terms of racism and stereotypes of other religions and cultures, but it must be remembered that Jules Verne was viewing the world the British lens of imperialism at the time.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A History of American Sports in 100 Objects

I found this book to be fascinating, well written, and utterly engrossing. I thought it would be all about football, baseball, and men but I was pleasantly surprised to see that all sports were represented and there was a good number of women present too. Items ranged from the modern football, the nike waffle iron, the gold club used on the moon, CTE brain scans, Immaculata's basketball uniforms and more. Each item gave an overview of the sport, player or players, pertinent history, and how it helped define American sports. I enjoyed this book so much that I want to buy it. I learned soo  much about so many different things. A great read for sports fans, history buff, and Jeapordy afficianados.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Fortunes

Davies, Peter Ho. The Fortunes. 9 CDs. unabridged. 2016. 10 3/4 hrs. Brilliance Audio. ISBN. 9781531824365. $29.99. 

Davies (The Welsh Girl) deftly weaves together four stories of the Chinese American experience to create a rich tapestry of what it takes to find acceptance in oneself and in one's country. A nineteenth century laundry worker, a Chinese film star, a friend of someone killed in a hate crime, and a half-Chinese man looking to adopt a Chinese baby; tell their stories of life in America and how their "Chinese-ness" has helped defined their American experience. Their stories are all uniquely different, yet uniquely the same; racism, questions of identity, the need for acceptance, the need to be "all-American" surface in all four stories. Raw, witty, honest, and unflinching, The Fortunes manages to capture the heart of  growing up Chinese American in this powerful novel. Impressively narrated by the talented, James Chen, who brings an authenticity to the story with his numerous accents and reserved, yet powerful telling of the story. Davies proves that he's a masterful storyteller in this emotionally gripping novel. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Glorious Heresies

I love reading novels written in dialects and slang not of my own. The Glorious Heresies is set in Ireland and the characters think, speak, and feel in Irish, it is... glorious. Alternating stories slowly become intertwined throughout the book and as the title suggests they're well meaning (mostly) heretics. From the teenage drug dealer to the prostitute to the "off her rocker" old mother who accidentally kills a burgler with a holy relic all characters find themselves questioning the direction of their lives. It's dark, gritty, amusing, witty, and above else impossible to put down. Even when the characters are at their worse the reader somehow finds themselves rooting for them, hoping that these glorious heresies can get their shit figured out.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Wait for You

I do like new adult books but I thought this one was a little lacking. There wasn't enough sex, it was predictable, and the guy was faar too perfect. A shy, naive, scared 19 year old flees from Texas to attend college on the east coast far away from her family and the reputation she had at high school. Eager to start fresh she wants to blend in and try to be normal. Then she meets Cam and everything is turned upside down. not bad but not great.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Maltese Falcon

I haven't had the opportunity to read many crime detective noir novels and this one was an interesting one to start out with. I've never seen the movie version so I honestly didn't know what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. It's all macho men, witty dialogue, damsels in distress, stolen goods, and lots and lots of drinking. So honestly, why am I just now getting into noir novels?!? They seem right up my alley!! This was a fun, albeit semi slow paced introduction for me into the world of the hard nosed detective. I'll definitely be coming back for more.

The Sandman:Volume One Nocturnes and Preludes

I've seen this graphic novel floating around for ages but for some reason I've never picked it up. I'm glad I finally ended that dumb streak because The Sandman is Neil Gaiman at his finest. It's dark, witty, creative, and terribly smart; an all around slam dunk for a comic series. The Sandman is the ruler of the realm of dreams and finds himself continually caught up in human drama. A great introduction to the series, fantastic worldbuilding, concepts, and dialogue. I can't wait to read more!

The Book Thief

Geoffrey Rush said it was a five handkerchief film and I think the same is most definitely true for the book. It starts off innocently enough, with a word of note from death, the impartial narrator. Death tells the tale of Liesel, a young German orphan who finds a new home in Nazi Germany and forges a strong bond with her new papa. Papa slowly coaxes her out of her shell with his accordion, cigarette rolling, and reading lessons. They start off with "The Grave Digger's Handbook," a book Liesel stole at her brother's funeral, but soon progress to other novels (the majority of which Liesel has stolen). Each novel she conquers marks a new phase in her life. As the war progresses into Germany, reading is her true salvation. It also helps her bond with the Jew hidden in their basement.

This is one of those books that will stay with you. It's haunting and poetic; Death is a fantastic narrator and his insights to the future and value of human life will astound you. It's also nice to read a book from the perspective of the "protagonist," an eleven year old German girl and member of the Hitler Youth, rather than the "victims" (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with reading about the victims, it's just nice to switch it up, I've read dozens of memoirs from survivors and other literature from the side of the oppressed). 

Born a Crime

An exceptional audiobook by comedian and Daily Show host, Trevor Noah. Honestly, I didn't know shit about Trevor until I started reading this, the cover didn't look appealing and I may have never picked this up had it not been for my friend's insistence that it was great. She was right, and I highly recommend that this is listened to rather than read, because the author narrates it himself and will even sing, speak in other languages and do fantastic impersonations. It was a laugh out loud experience. Even though his memoir is quite hilarious, it's also eye-opening and a little horrifying as well. Born during South Africa's apartheid, Trevor grew up in a hellish environment that most people aren't even familiar with. It's a great memoir and mini-history on the South African troubles. Fantastic read, will definitely check out again.

V for Vendetta

I loved this graphic novel and am ashamed it took me so long to get to. It was truly a groundbreaking work of art. I recall seeing the movie back in high school but I didn't really remember it so reading this book was like seeing the movie for the first time, all fresh. In a dystopian society where half the world has been bombed into oblivion, England has been holding on, but at what cost. Run now by a correct "big brother-esque" government, no one is safe. Everyone is spied on and all minorities are disposed of. Sick of how corrupt and evil life has become, a man in a mask decides to set things straight and take on the government. A truly fantastic graphic novel, and a must read!

The Cauliflower

This is not an easy book to review, not by a long shot. There are no chapters, a cast of ever-changing characters and side stories, and an almost gleeful air of frivolity. Even though I don't quite know what to think of it, I'm giving it a solid 4 because it is ingenious and wonderfully written. Following the life of the hindu guru/saint, Sri Ramakrishna told through many perspectives, stages, of life, and experiences, the story is weaved together with an omniscient narrator (ie a humorous author) and lots of fun, faith, and frivolity (again, the story is covered with it). Not for the faint of heart, but rewarding for those readers who do finish it. Not what i expected, but I'm glad I did.