Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I'm glad to see more diversity in teen graphic novels and the illustrations bordered on manga style which may garner a wider teen audience. The story was pretty solid and discussed themes of cultural identity, women's rights, family issues, religion, and bullying. It is a perfect fit for teens trying to fit in and discover their place. Priyanka is a teenager with lots of questions, why does her mother hang out to their cultural identity, yet refuse to ever go back to India? Where is her father and better yet, who is he? Very well done.

Scarlet Witch

I didn't know what to expect with this comic so in that regard it's not much of a let down. It was very underwhelming. I guess I was still expecting more of a superhero vibe since it's Marvel but that assumption was very wrong. It's very... witchy, I mean she is a witch and all so I don't know why I was surprised by that. Instead of fighting monsters, and evil villains, the Scarlet Witch is fighting demons, trapped souls, and fellow witches. I may have read it a little too fast, but I wasn't 100% following the whole plot of this first installment. The illustrations were great, but other than that I wasn't in love with this. Oh well!


This collection of 20 small posters is an eclectic and weird mix of signs that have "big thoughts." I wasn't really in love with it. Some were way more clever than others. The pages are all printed on heavy card-stock so they can be easily removed and framed or hung in your house. They're funny and clever, but not exactly something that would like nice hanging on your wall. Maybe in a dorm room. The book jacket unfolds into a big poster of a telephone pole so you could theoretically hang up your favorite flier on there. Included are fake lost posters, wanted signs, existential questions. They're all written in sharpie and feature black and white photos of the lowest quality imaginable. Again, it's not something you'd probably want to hang up unless that is your sense of humor. It would make an okay gift for someone who is into weird shit like this. I have very meh feelings about it.

Shakespeare Saved My Life

Even though this book was really disorganized and jumped around, I really thoroughly enjoyed it. It wasn't so much a memoir, as much as it was a story about a maximum security inmate whose life changed by attending a Shakespeare program in prison. Laura Bates, a college professor, started going to a maximum security facility in Indiana and teaching Shakespeare to inmates in solitary. She discovered that they responded really well to reading and analyzing the Bards work. One inmate in particular, Larry Newton, provided insight and analysis that was almost better than top scholars in the field. With no access to spark notes, foot notes, or scholarly opinions, he started formulating his own. He had nothing but time on his hands and really dug deep into the meanings behind everything, and this is from a killer who never completed middle school. Through her work with the inmates and their eagerness and excitement to learn, both parties end up changing for the better. A feel good read that makes you think twice about felons capacity for change.

American War

I was a little confused at the beginning of this book, but once I understood the timelines and the backstory, the whole thing fell into place. American War brilliantly captures what a second Civil War could look like if the south rose again at the end of the twenty first century. It's bleak and full of diseases, dependence on fossil fuels, drone warfare and the stubborn resistance of those in the south. Told by a nephew of Sarat Chestnut (an infamous southern fighter), American War is a flash back at a pivotal event that prolonged the Civil War and killed millions of people. It's a look at morals, war atrocities, survival, and family. It's fast paced and interspersed with historical documents that help explain what is going in the world while the South is trying to fight for independence. An interesting, exciting, and timely read!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Caramel Murder

I was looking for a cozy Christmas mystery and although I got what I asked for I hated it. This was almost too cozy. This is the twentieth Hannah Swensen book and by god, does someone die every month in this small town? Is Hannah always the one tripping over bodies? Why do the police let her run her own parallel investigations when she clearly has no formal training? Why is she such a goody goody meddler? There is no tension or real intrigue in this mystery. Readers are spoon fed a watered down Christmas time murder. Of course it happens in a small charming town, where everyone is in everyone else's business. This mystery is lukewarm at best. Also, included are recipes that sound interesting, but I will never attempt. Very meh.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Genuine Fraud

For a teen read this book had lots of twists and turns and murder. I dug it. The story is kind of like the movie, Memento, it humps around in time, but mostly it moves backward, towards the truth. Jule is a chameleon, she can be whoever you need her to be and she's strong and smart. Imogen is a spoiled heiress who never questions anything. Together they have an unusual friendship, one that makes more and more sense as the story progresses. It's a story of deception, entitlement, smarts, money, lies, and eventually... the truth. The audiobook was a solid listen. A good follow up novel from the teen author of the smash bestseller, We Were Liars.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Since We Fell

I feel like there is more than one story in here. I didn't particularly like the first half but by the time I got to the second half it's a thriller and everything has turned on it's head and I got jacked! I really enjoyed the story once the pacing picked up, but it was like two separate stories were mushed together. A reporter turns recluse after an embarrassing meltdown on live TV in Haiti and her divorce. Then she runs into a private detective that she hired when she was younger and was trying to find out the identity of her father. The reporter and the former PI get married and everything is fine until Rachel discovers that her husband may be lying and leading a second life. Once that happens shit hits the fan and everything picks up quickly. Overall not a bad read.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A Sick Life

The first parental advisory CD I was ever allowed to purchase was TLC's "Fanmail" and that album was FIRE. "No Scrubs" was my jam and even though I came late to loving TLC, I was definitely a fan. I was even excited to see them open for New Kids on the Block a few years ago. That being said, I never knew much about the pop group, I knew that one of them died and one of them sometimes got sick but that was about it. "A Sick Life" goes into T-Boz's story about her childhood, her battle with Sickle Cell, the formation of TLC, and her children. It was all pretty inspiring and fascinating and it helped that the audiobook was narrated by T-Boz herself. I definitely gained a new appreciation for TLC's music, this was a nice blast to the past and a must read (or listen) for all 90's kids.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Code of Honor

Totally unbelievable, but 100% enjoyable and fast paced. I can definitely see this book being popular with teens. Kamran has it all, he's a a football star, homecoming king, and has a smoking hot girlfriend. But that all comes crashing down when his older brother joins up with terrorists. He had been in the military but suddenly he's on the news making demands, condemning the US, and standing by while an innocent journalist is beheaded. Everyone writes him off, except for his brother. Kamran is convinced that his brother is giving him hints in the video and that he's being held hostage. Instead of being at high school, Kamran is now working with the US government and trying to get them believe that his brother is innocent. But will it be enough? Can they rescue him and stop the terrorists before they kill people? Short chapters, fast paced, and deals with hard themes like culture, religion, and judging others who are different from us. Surprisingly good!


I'm astonished at how much I loved this book. I got sucked in from the get go and raced through it to see how the story could possibly get solved (spoiler alert it's in the first of a series). I also couldn't believe that Hollywood actor, Jason Segel, wrote this. How cool! Apparently he's also written other  books as well! This book is like Ready Player One and Westworld if it had been written for teenagers. There is a new virtual reality called Otherworld and it's just been released on the market to 2,000 lucky beta testers. Simon and his best friend (and romantic interest) Kat, get to be some of the lucky first few to experience it. Real life is so boring is boring compared to realness and power of Otherworld. But when Simon discovers that this may be more than a game and it has the potential to kill certain players during the testing phase, he is determined to go back in there and save Kat (who at this point, is being forced to stay in the Otherworld against her will). Engrossing, funny, imaginative, and surprisingly believable; this book will garner teen fans and quite a few adults too. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, November 13, 2017


CRAP! CRAP! CRAP! Why did I trick myself into reading this utter nonsense?!?! Why?!?!!? After Alice (his Alice in Wonderland adaptation) was bad enough (another 1 star review) but I was lured in by the premise of a backstory to the nutcracker. I'm an idiot! I should have stayed clear! My god, this story  hardly anything to do with the nutcracker and the first 200 pages was about a boy named Dirk wandering the countryside, no mention of A nutcracker or THE nutcracker OR Christmas. NOTHING! ZILCH! Literally dumb. I hate this. I'm never tricking myself into reading his stuff again. Avoid if you know what's good for you.


This seemed soo similar to 50 Shades of Grey to me. Not because it's erotica, but because it's about a young hot inexperienced college graduate (with a few problems in her past) who is relying on a super attractive billionaire to fund her fledgling start up. Of course they get involved. Of course he's controlling. Of course he's AMAZING in bed. Of course he is going to school Erica in the ways of business and lovemaking. Lots of hot unbelievable sex scenes, followed by even more unbelievable plot. It ends on a cliffhanger to make you want to finish the rest of the series. Didn't work for me though. If it keeps up the similar story-line to 50 Shades, I know exactly where it's headed. A nice steamy, brainless read.

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

One of the lames Jane Austen spin offs I've read in a long time. I will admit, I picked this book up solely because I love Jane Austen and I love Christmas. I didn't even bother to read the description (which was obviously a mistake). In this modern day Christmastime Pride and Prejudice adaptation. Darcy Fitzwilliam, one of the wealthiest and influential women in New York City comes back to Pemberly, Ohio for the holidays for the first time in eight years because her mom is sick. After she failed to marry her high school sweetheart, Caleb her father disowned her and took her out of the will so she went to New York and became rich and powerful on her own. She hates Pemberly, but thankfully her best friend from high school, the sassy gay Bingley, is in town so they have a good time catching up while her mother recovers. Also she runs into Luke Bennet and he is a stunner. Maybe something will happen with that. Ugh. It's a nightmare. I didn't even care what happened to anyone.

Black Hammer

This was similar to Watchmen in that it's not about superpowers and superheroes, it'a about the people behind the mask. It's set up very well and it's no trouble to follow the story line with all the flashbacks and dialogue. The illustrations are amazing and the characters are bad ass. I really can't wait to see where this series goes and I'll definitely be keeping up with it. The premise is a bunch of superheroes have been stuck on a farm in this small town unable to leave. They keep their powers hidden from the townsfolk, but after 10 years it's wearing them all down. Their trying to escape, but even if they can, what is left for them out there? All around awesome!

Friday, November 10, 2017

Scooby Apocalypse

I've been on a Scooby Doo kick this year. I re-watched the entire first season a few months ago and read "Meddling Kids" an adult spoof and everyone's favorite teenage gang of crime solvers. I thought Scooby Doo Apocalypse might be some more of that but I was wrong. It's entirely different. The gang didn't know each other as teenagers and they only come together because evil genius, Velma had been working on nano-technology when some scientists re-wired it and caused it to be bad. Velma reached out to Daphne's low rated cable mystery show (Fred is the loyal filming assistant) to help expose what was going on in her secret high tech lab. Unfortunately all hell breaks loose and everyone starts turning into monsters. Shaggy and his genetically enhanced dog, Scooby, help the three escape the lab alive. Now the five of them must rely on each other for survival because it looks like the whole world has gone mad. So yeah... completely different. They even made Shaggy a giant hipster. Not horrible, not great, I may check out volume two.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Strange Weather

This might be one of my favorite short story collections and it may have beaten out The Fireman as my favorite Joe Hill book. I LOVED this collection. There are four short stories and all of them are simply amazing! I don't know which one I like the most? They are all so unique and inventive, and creepy, and all around insanely good. I know I'm gushing here, but I can't help fangirling all over this short story collection! It's money! There are four short novels in this collection.

Snapshot made my skin crawl. A nerdy awkward teenager confront a man who owns a unique Polaroid camera that has the ability to erase your mind one snapshot at a time.

Loaded will make you angry, it's a story we've all heard before, an innocent young black man was killed because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and "looked guilty." Fast forward two decades and the witness to that crime is about to see a whole other gun drama unfold before her eyes. It's gripping and the end is maddening. You won't be able to stop thinking about it.

Aloft is about a skydiver who gets stuck on a cloud that is only trying to make friends. It's bizarre and imaginative and I LOVE the concept of this one!

Rain reminded me so much of Kurt Vonnegut's, Cat's Cradle! Instead of Ice 9, the sky starts raining needles. Denver is very nearly obliterated. The badd ass lesbian heroine in this might be one of my favorite characters. All around great apocalyptic novel.

Buy this. Read it. Talk to me about it. I'm in love!

Quicksand Pond

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. 6 CDs. unabridged. Recorded Books. 2017. ISBN 9781501940347.

Newbery Honor winner Janet Taylor Lisle brings to life a story of summer friendships, small town preconceptions, and the choices that define us. Jessie Kettel's father is determined to make the most out of their summer vacation by uprooting his kids from the city and renting out a decrepit old cabin by a dingy old pond for a few weeks. Jessie is immediately entranced by the pond and finds an old raft on which to explore the secrets of the swampy land. It's there she discovers Terri and the two become inseparable, fixing the raft and learning about each other. The more Jessie gets to know Terri though, the more concerned she becomes. Terri is from a no good family and everyone knows that they're always in trouble. As things start to fall apart, Jessie starts distancing herself and begins questioning her own feelings and convictions. Although intended for a middle grade audience, the novel reads more mature and may lose younger readers. The story isn't very fast paced, but there is rich character development with Jessie and Terri. The narrator's youthful voice helps capture the innocence and excitement of the young girls. Not for everyone but will appeal to more mature middle school readers, not for content but for plot, dialogue, and character development. - Erin Cataldi, Johnson Co. Public Library, Franklin, IN

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Keto Reset Diet

There is a plethora of self help, diet, and cook books, but the Keto diet promises to shake all that up. "Hopefully" this isn't a new fad diet because it seems pretty promising. The premise is you cut out carbs and eat high fat foods and slowly you trick your body into eating the fats. This diet promises to leave you satisfied as it is truly high fats, moderate protein, and minimal carbs. It's supposes to help reboot your metabolism completely and change how it's been working. Included in this book along with the science, the implementation, and advice, are over 100 recipes. They very in kitchen skill level and some even sound pretty good (I have not made any yet). My only complaint is that the book didn't seem very vegetarian friendly, but really I'm in the minority here so I wasn't mad, just something I've come to expect. I can gauge the effectiveness of this diet because I've only read the book and not implemented it, but on appearances this plan seems a lot more sound then others! 

Long Way Down

Easily one of the best books I've read so far this year! Utterly compelling, impossible to put down, and packs one hell of a punch. This teen novel in verse discusses gun violence in such a way that leaves no room for argument, it demands to be heard and felt. Will's older brother Shawn has been shot and killed and it falls on Will to exact vengeance. He has to he has no choice. It's part of the rules.
1. No crying
2. No snitching
3. Get revenge no matter what
It's what his brother would have done. So he takes his dead brother's gun and heads to the elevator to leave the building and take out his brother's killer. But it's a long way down and he must pass seven floors. On each floor, a victim of gun violence enters on the elevator. Sixty seconds. Seven floors, Three rules. One gun.
AMAZING! Seriously can't stop thinking about this book. It's giving me the chills.

Walking Dead: Book Fourteen

Another stunning addition to the Walking Dead collection. I'll admit it took me a minute to gather my bearings and remember what happened in book thirteen since it had been quite a while since I had read it, but it did come back rather quickly. This book follows the ongoing battle with the whisperers (who are creepy as fuck!) and we see a huge growth in Negan's character. Not only is he finally free but he is working with Rick and is seemingly on his side! Is this a long term ploy? Probably, but right now it seems pretty damn convincing. We have one major character death and a massive zombie herd coming straight at Alexandria.Overall, pretty damn good. I can't wait for book fifteen!

The Book of Barb

A cute little coffee table book with lots of amazing illustrations. This book contains a short essay on the iconic Stranger Things wing woman with virtually no screen time, along with lots of other fun little sections. There is a quiz, advice, makeup tips, a playlist, lots of illustrations, What would Barb Do, and loads of other creative things. It's a little short and I could have used more, but I'll take what I can get. The illustrations alone make this gem worth buying. A must own for any dedicated Stranger Things fan. I better see a Bob book soon!

I'd Rather Be Reading

This little gift book is adorable and a must have for all bibliophiles. It contains a few short essays on the joy of reading, lots of gorgeous drawings, prints, and cartoons celebrating the greatness of books, and quite a few quotes from authors and poets on being a bibliophile. All in all it's a small cute book, that will make a great addition to any coffee table, book shelf, or display. I'd love if I could get some of the art bigger and framed around my house, it's that good!

Girl Waits With Gun

Cute, inventive, and hard to put down. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the escapades of the three Kopp sisters, even more so when I discovered that this story is loosely based off true events! When an automobile collides with a horse and buggy and the buggy is ruined, the eldest sister, Constance, decides to take matters into her own hands and get the thug who was driving the car to pay. Little does she realize though that this thug is not to be messed with. Soon come the threatening letters, shots fired at the house, bricks thrown into windows. The girls finds themselves in over their heads. They turn to the sheriff for help before things escalate too quickly. My favorite character is the youngest sister Fleurette, who has a wonderful knack for creativity and seeing the positive side in everything. An enjoyably quick read.

Sense and Sensibility

Re-reading this book just solidified my opinion that it is the best of the Jane Austen novels. I know everyone has their hearts set on Pride and Prejudice and Mr. Darcy, but I believe that her first novel is raw and real and much more relatable. It truly remains as fresh a cautionary tale today as it ever was. The Dashwood sisters learn that the path to love isn't always straight and narrow and sometimes you're heart has to be broken for you to appreciate how whole a heart can be. Filled with memorable characters, witty dialogue, and unforgettable romance, this is a book readers won't soon forget.

I really enjoyed discussing the book with my library Jane Austen Book and Film Club, we talked about how societal obligations have changed but the heart has remained the same and then we watched the Masterpiece Theater version. Overall, a must read. And if you haven't watch the 1995 movie version. It's amazing and you won't regret it.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye

Written in the same style, voice, and intensity of the original trilogy, the fifth book in the Millennium series was still a little lackluster for me. I thought the dueling story-lines were a bit much and I didn't care for the characters as much as I had in the past. Also, I noticed that Lisbeth Salander is becoming less and less of a central roles in these books. That being said, I didn't hate it. I was intrigued enough to keep going and try to figure out how the story would conclude and to discover the hidden links that merged the two plots together. Of course we have Blomkvist, the ever persistent journalist digging deep and following the thread as well as a few new characters and villains. Not great, not bad - here's to hoping I like the sixth one better.