Tuesday, January 30, 2018

50 Shades of Grey

Ok... This is my second time re-reading it. SECOND!! That's not a brag either, it's more like self-inflicted torture for the sake of .... seeing the movies... Go ahead and judge me. It can't be any worse than I'm judging myself. I read this six years ago and for posterity, I have the review that naive, grad student me, wrote preserved down below (read at your own risk). As I've "grown up" my opinions have definitely changed so here's my take on the book... WHAT THE HELL?! This is the most abusive, fucked up relationship ever!! Christian Grey is such a douche-canoe and Ana is literally the dumbest, most naive, un-confident, doormat. All Christian Grey has going for him is his good looks and money. There is nothing redeeming or sexy about his personality. He's controlling, abusive, inconsiderate, and the biggest stalker ever! Just imagine this story featured a man in a trailer park that was unattractive, broke, into BDSM, had a tendency for stalking, and had a red room of pain..... not so hot huh?!?! Christian Grey buys his way into Ana's life (with cars, computers, $14,000 first edition books, you name it) and tries to inflict his lifestyle on her even though she's a virgin (she's never been attracted to another man before...... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?). She quickly tosses away her v-card and tentatively agrees to try out the whips, chains, and hand cuffs. For someone so inexperienced (never even masturbated... bitch please, you just graduated college!) she starts dropping orgasms all over the place, like 15 a day. Super realistic. She's madly in love with him so she'll do whatever it takes to make Christian love her back. Even if it means doing shit she's uncomfortable with. Christian isn't into "love" or "vanilla," he only gets off by inflicting pain and having others obey his every command. He blames it on his "tortured past." Ana is convinced that she can change him and they can have a real relationship.... because that's realistic. Ugh.... this book is mommy porn and if you want erotica there is soo much better shit out there. Shit that features HEALTHY relationships. Christian is so over the top, don't even get me started on his obsession with making Ana eat. He doesn't shut up about her eating habits. Leave the girl alone! You're gonna give that dumb bitch an eating disorder! The most unrealistic part about this book however, is the part where an Ana, an English major, gets a job immediately after graduation.... WITH AN ENGLISH DEGREE. I can't anymore. Read at your own peril.

Review from 2012:
Wow. I don't even know where to start on this one. My first comment is on the highly misleading award on the back, "A GoodReads Choice Award Finalist for Best Romance." This book is not exactly what you would call "romantic." Erotic, check. Sensual, check. Sexually charged, check. Romantic, no. That being said I did enjoy the book and knew what I was getting myself into. After no less than three of my close friends chastised me for not reading this book I knew I had to make it a priority. It's definitely a compelling read, you have to find out more. You can't stop reading. It's maddingly addictive. The story follows young Anastasia as she falls head over heels for sexy billionaire Christian Grey who wants to do nothing more than punish her. They form an odd relationship that is quite erotic (as fitting with Christian's tastes) and Anastasia struggles to come to terms with their different notions of love and what makes an appropriate relationship. Of course I will be reading the next two in the trilogy. It's too damn good to put down. This is a great book, but not a light read or for those faint of heart. If you embarrass easily please don't read in public, you'll find yourself blushing every other page. Enjoy!!

Monday, January 29, 2018


I've been on a bit of a Star Wars kick, so basically that involves me reading all the semi new Star Wars books I stumble across at work. This makes the 3rd one in a month and it may be my favorite!Bloodline follows Princess Lei two decades after "Return of the Jedi." She is still heavily involved in politics and serving as senator. Even though the Empire is long gone there is still trouble in the Senate. The Populists and the Centrists are always at each others throats and nothing constructive ever seems to get accomplished. Leia is seriously considering retiring but when an opportunity to invest a potential new threat to the galaxy comes up she springs on the chance to have a little adventure. A young power thirst Populist decides to accompany her on her mission and the two of them have no idea what is in store for them or the galaxy. Lots of fun and has new characters as well as old (Han! C3PO! Chewie! Luke!). I loved this, it fit seamlessly into the Star Wars universe and takes place about a decade before "The Force Awakens." I loved it!

Murder on the Orient Express

Surprisingly, only the second Agatha Christie novel I've ever read, the first being "And Then There Were None." This one has been on my "to be read" shelf for years. Literally years. It took the movie coming out (and a book club) to get my butt in gear. I was not disappointed. It's a classic whoddunit, that keeps you guessing until the very end (although I was pretty close to figuring it out!). Famed detective, Hercule Poirot, is riding on the Orient Express because he must get back to London for a case. While on the train a murder occurs and he is tasked with discovering who the murderer is because there is no way he or she could have left the train. Lots of red herrings, interesting characters, sketchy motives, and puzzles. It was great and it definitely makes me want to read other books in the Poirot series! I'm glad however, that they can be read out of order because they are all stand alone novels.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Blockade Billy

Not my favorite Stephen King short story collection, but still masterfully written. Unlike the title suggests there is more than one story included in this book. "Blockade Billy," the gruesome and surprising baseball story is up first, followed by "Morality" which is a chilling tale about how far people will go for money. Both were well written, but neither appealed to me. "Blockade Billy" is definitely geared for the sports fanatic, it contains a lot of heavy duty baseball writing and terminology while "Morality," focuses on money, relationships, and you guessed it... morality. A quick read with good suspenseful build up and witty dialogue.

Milk and Honey

Wow. This book of poetry was raw, compelling, and impossible to put down. I rushed through it but now I want to start over so I can savor it. It's hauntingly beautiful and easy to relate to. It's broken into four parts: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. The poems range in length and some even have accompanying sketches. Rupi Kaur mastered the art of conveying deep emotion with minimal words. I can't get over how beautiful and poignant this collection is. Definitely a poet to keep an eye out for and one whose books I will certainly add to my own personal collection because I know I'll want to revisit her words again and again.


Holy cow! I've heard this book get hype, mostly from my teens, but I didn't realize how right they were until I finally plunged in! This book is fantastic! The concept is insanely unique, and the whole story is inventive and over the top amazing! In a world where humans have finally overcome disease, old age, war, and injuries there is nothing left to fear or learn. People can reset their clock and be younger, they can also reset their nannites to have higher metabolism, adjust hormones, depression, and other maladies. They can even be brought back to life from extreme accidents. There is nothing to fear, except for the scythe. Since humanity has overcome every obstacle, the only problem now is overpopulation. The scythe are tasked with random killings to keep the world in balance; they are a terrible necessity. Two teens are about to get real intimate with the dark side of humanity when a scythe has chosen them to become his apprentices. They must learn the best ways to "glean" (killing is a dirty word), and how to do so with humanity and humility. A wonderfully different book. My review will not do it justice!

Traitor to the Throne

A stellar follow up to Rebel of the Sands, not quite better but damn close. Traitor to the Throne picks up right where Rebel of the Sands left off and it's a nonstop action ride the whole way through. Amani never catches a break! When she finds herself captured and taken to the Sultan's palace she is able to spy from the inside. What she learns shakes her to her very core and she's powerless to do anything about it. Her powers have suppressed by the sultan so she must find others ways to get information back to the rebel cause and help some innocents escape from the palace. Lots of twists and turns, and romance, and adventure, and all around badassery. I can't wait to see how the series is wrapped up when the third book comes out later this year. Traitor to the Throne ended crazy and I must know how it all plays out!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Northanger Abbey

Not nearly as strong as Jane Austen's other novels, this one is a little lacking but makes up for it with beautiful prose and well developed characters. This novel attempts to be gothic in points and I don't believe that is Austen's strong suit; I'm more about deception, societal roles, and romance. This story centers on Catherine, a smart sensible girl of 18 who gets to spend several weeks in Bath with her childless neighbors. While there she becomes best friends with Isabelle and finds herself always going on double dates with Isabelle, her older brother, John, and James, Catherine's older brother. John quite fancies Catherine but she has her eye on Mr. Tinley and she's determined to make his and his younger sister's acquaintance. What's a girl to do (hint, get a husband... but which man to choose?!?!?) Good ol' fashioned regency era romance.

Murder at the Male Revue

I 100% picked this up because of male strippers. I won't even lie. I was like, man they make cozy mysteries about EVERYTHING!! And then I read it in one day. I had no idea that this book was the third in a mystery series (Bucket List Mysteries) AND that it was set in Indiana AND that it was written by a Hoosier father daughter duo. Basically there is a group of senior ladies who are working on crossing items off their sixty lists (bucket lists) and finding dead bodies in the process. While they are catering a charity strip show (Joy had a bucket list item about attending one), the town council president is found murdered backstage. Of course these senior ladies can't be content to let the police have all the fun so they get to work sleuthing and gossiping and having a grand old time. For featuring strippers, this was a pretty clean novel and will be a perfect fit for those who love cozy mysteries. Lots of fun, I may actually read the first two! I really love the characters! They are grannies with character!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The End of the Fucking World

This was a wild ride from start to finish. Fast paced and quick to read in it's comic format this story about a lonely teenage couple roaming around aimlessly is gripping from start to finish. James is an odd duck, he doesn't feel deeply and as a child he had no problem killing animals. He's not a remorseful guy, he's just looking to feel something, anything. He meets Alyssa and he pretends to fall in love with her in an attempt to feel some feelings. She goes along with it because she's lonely and why not. Together they runaway and bum around. They break into a house to sleep while it's owners are on vacation. While there they discover some disturbing satanic items and pictures of mutilated bodies. They stay anyway When the owner returns home Alyssa and James are in for some serious shit. Dark and compelling. Like, really dark, I wonder how the TV adaptation will be.

Let the Dead Bury the Dead

Another fantastic installment in the Christopher Worthy/ Father Fortis Mysteries series. The dynamic duo find themselves working together again when Father Fortis is assigned to help minister to a Church whose priest has just been murdered and Lieutenant Worthy finds himself assigned to that very case. Initial signs point to a theft of alter items but Worthy and Fortis are convinced that it's something more than that. Something they're not seeing. The closer they get to solving the case the more red herrings are thrown their way. Can they find the truth buried in Church gossip or maybe a nearby dumpster? While all this is going on Worthy is trying to salvage his relationship with his daughter and help out his new partner who seems to fly off the handle about everything. With a shocking conclusion that I didn't see coming, this mystery will leave readers guessing up until the very end. I can't wait for the next one!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Red Clocks

I was momentarily disoriented in the first 25 pages, but once the format and story-line clicked, it was magic. Fascinating, dark, dreamy, beautiful magic. Told from the perspective of five wildly different women, Red Clocks re-imagines what the United States would be like if abortion was once again illegal and criminalized. The new personhood amendment overturned Roe vs. Wade and harshly persecutes women who abort or attempt to abort while also outlawing single parents from adopting. The women in this novel each deal with this new reality in different ways; with contempt, fear, outrage, and anarchy. It's a perfect read for fans of Margaret Atwood and fans of feminist literature and is more timely then ever. This book will make you think and feel. What a wonderful journey; I look forward to reading more by this wildly talented author.


Translated from Finnish, this book is a combination of the horrifying possibilities in The Handmaid's Tale with ancient pagan tales. It's a wonderfully feminist, empowering, dark teen novel. Maresi is a 13 year old novice at the Red Abbey. The Abbey is located on a remote island and only women are allowed. They worship the goddesses and are completely self sufficient from men. Everything changes the day that Jai comes to the island. Maresi takes the scared girl under her wing and shows her the wonders and beauties of an island filled with only women. Little does Maresi know that she may have to take on role as savior for the Abbey and stop hiding behind her books and her new friend Jai. Very fairy tale-esque.


I didn't have high expectations for this novel so I was really pleased that I enjoyed it. This addition to the Star Wars universe gives Phasma a much needed back story. It helps reveal her personality, deadly ambition, and character. It was awesome. She was basically a bloodthirsty warrior on a small mostly uninhabited planet. Having grown up in the worst of environments with little to no stability, she became the fiercest warrior in her clan, willing to do whatever it takes to help her come out on top. When a strange ship crashes on her planet she goes out of her way to find the survivors, and escort them to safety; defying clan laws, encroaching on warring clans territory, and jeopardizing her people. If she can help the First Order general then perhaps she can get off her God forsaken planet and actually do more than survive, probably thrive out in the galaxy. A fascinating read.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Woman in the Window

For thrills and plot twists 5 out of 5, I docked it one star overall because I disliked the unreliable narrator (although she did keep things interesting). This book was definitely worthy of the hype surrounding it. I hate comparing it to Gone Girl and The Girl in the Train but...... I have to!! We have an unreliable female narrator who drinks too much, plot twists out the ass, and some dark hidden bits about her past. All intriguing! Basically a 38 year old woman who is "separated" from her husband has shut herself in her large New York City house for the past 10 months. After some mysterious traumatic experience (which the reader is dying to know all about!) she became a hardcore agoraphobic and can't leave the house without having a full fledged panic attack. She passes time watching classic noir movies, playing virtual chess and spying on her neighbors. When a new family moves in something seems off but then when she witnesses a crime in their house, no one believes. She's not making it up... or is she? Definitely unique and worth a read. I sped read this in one day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Canto Bight

This was a quick and fun read that takes place in the Star Wars Universe. Canto Bight is the Casino planet featured in The Last Jedi and it's basically a higher stakes version of Las Vegas. It's a prosperous city with a dark underbelly that will always thrive on greed and war. This book features four short stories by notable sci-fi authors that take place on the casino planet. None of them feature any major characters from the Star Wars series, but there are a few mentions of the impending war and the First Order. The stories feature thugs, gamblers, wine sommeliers, tourists, masseuses, and more. The stories are all vastly different and contain a great number of different species, plot lines, and adventure. They were all fun and entertaining and I would definitely read another compilation like this.

Monday, January 8, 2018

You Need a Budget

An enlightening and interesting way to go about your personal finances. I just picked this up because it was the new years and it sounded like a good idea and I was very impressed. I had not been aware of Jesse Mecham, the founder of YNAB and the finance platform that went with it, but after I read this I joined a few Facebook groups so I could keep up on this. I haven't invested in the software yet, but I am definitely tempted. This plan sounds a lot more doable then a lot of other budget plans I've read. I'd describe it but I don't want to butcher it. Just check it out! It seems easy to use and follow and has great results!

God and Donald Trump

Sweet baby Jesus. I hate read the hell out of this piece of garbage. I HAD to know why people still believe that he is a "Godly" man chosen to lead the people. Basically it boils down to, yes he is a sinner, but God LEADS sinners and uses them for good. God chose Donald Trump to lead the people which is why he got almost ALL the Evangelical vote. This book was so filled with lies and garbage. Comparing Hillary to a Nazi and saying over and over again that she was going to get rid of religious liberties and give out free abortions for all and that she was basically Satan in disguise. She may not have been perfect, but she was none of those things. This book is so hypocritical and laughable. It made me sick reading it. The author is clearly delusional and lying to himself. No one can say that Trump is a good Christian. He's had sexual allegations against him, been married three times, is a bully, owns casinos, doesn't regularly attend church, married a lesbian porn star, etc. Hate read this while you drink.

Live Lagom

A gorgeous little coffee table book filled with luscious photos, great life advice, and words of wisdom about balanced living, the Swedish way. It's a quick read and goes into detail about what Lagom is, how it impacts Swedish culture, and how we can use it and cultivate it in our own lives. It's all about having a happy balance, learning to connect more with family and disconnect with technology. It's about preserving our environment and appreciating what it has to offer us. Also included are some amazing sounding recipes. For fans of all those obsessed with hygge and balanced living.


The extent that I knew Anna Faris before was that she starred in The House Bunny and What's Your Number, and was married to Chris Pratt (mega hunk). This memoir/ self help/ celebrity advice book talked about love, bad decisions, acting, family life, regrets, and other little tidbits. It's not in any way chronological so there is loads of jumping around but that does keep it pretty fresh and keeps the reader on their toes. If you listen to the audiobook it's also narrated by the author herself which is pretty fun. Listening to this memoir made me respect and appreciate Anna Faris more as an actor, although I did not get the "we could be best friends!" vibe that I got from reading Amy Shumer and Mindy Kaling's books. She's a cool chick, but I still have nothing in common with her. Not a bad read.

Sleeping Beauties

Sleeping Beauties tracks the frightfully fast spread of "Aurora" a sleeping sickness that only affects women. When women fall asleep their face is cocooned in luminous white fluff and if they're awoken they will attack their disturber and kill them before going back to sleep. The world is in a panic, men are committing suicide and it appears the end is near. However in a small town in the Appalachian a woman is able to go to sleep and wake up. Never mind that she went to prison for murdering two meth heads and no one knows her real name, but she might have the answers for this worldwide epidemic and the "cure" might be found right in the sleepy little town of Dooling. There is a massive, wonderful cast of characters. There's good guys, bad guys, inmates, confused souls, and every type of person in between. Stephen King is masterful at bringing his characters to life and this book is no exception. This book isn't scary per se, but it definitely makes you think. A solid addition to the King treasury.